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Washington, DC and New York City are the most "marriage discouraging" places in America

The National Mall and Washington Monument is seen from the rooftop of the US Capitol November 18, 2014, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The National Mall and Washington Monument is seen from the rooftop of the US Capitol November 18, 2014, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Where you are born and raised affects your economic success in adulthood, as well as your likelihood of getting married, according to an excellent new series by the New York Times on economic and domestic outcomes.

New insight into how much the American experience is divided and fragmented

One example given in the Harvard University research used by the Times is the case of a low-income family moving from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh. The younger a child is when he or she moves to Pittsburgh, the higher income the child will make as an adult:

(Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence Katz / Harvard University)

As the study authors write (portions of the text have been bolded):

Children who move from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh at later ages have steadily declining incomes, relative to those who moved at younger ages. Those whose families moved after they were 23 experience no gain relative to those who stayed in Cincinnati permanently. ...

First, it is the neighborhood environment during childhood is a key determinant of a child’s long-term success. This suggests that policy makers seeking to improve mobility should focus on improving childhood environments (e.g., by improving local schools) and not just on the strength of the local labor market or availability of jobs.

Second, Figure 1 shows that the incremental benefits of exposure to a better area do not vary with a child’s age. Moving to a better area at age 9 instead of 10 produces the same incremental improvement in earnings as moving to that area at age 15 instead of 16. This finding is particularly important in light of recent discussions about early childhood interventions, as it is shows that there are significant returns to improving children’s environments even at older ages.

The worst city to be raised in, according to this study? Baltimore:

Every extra year spent in the city of Baltimore reduces a child’s earnings by 0.86% per year of exposure, generating a total earnings penalty of approximately 17% for children who grow up there from birth.

Another fascinating geodemographic outcome: the likelihood of getting married before 26

Your political ideology, income, and gender all play a role in your likelihood of getting married. But being born and raised in New York and Washington, DC, will put you in the least-likely-to-marry category. DC wins the honor of being the top city for killing the marriage prospects of its native residents up to age 26. The New York City metropolitan area boasts the second, third, and fourth spots for "marriage-discouraging" cities, with Orleans Parish, Louisiana, taking fifth.

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