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Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings, Opportunity Insights; Note: “Economic mobility” is measured as the average income percentile of children whose parents were in the lowest income quartile; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

One of the hottest streaks in the country's current economic boom is in a surprising place: the northern plains region encompassing the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Why it matters: Commentators often refer to the middle of the U.S. as a single entity, like "middle America" or, more pejoratively, "flyover country." But the economic vitality of the northern plains is all the more striking because of how different it is from the rest of the land between the coasts.

  • As is clear in the chart above, most working-age adults in the region have jobs.
  • People born into low-income households in these states are moving into the middle class with greater ease than other Americans.
  • The top six metro areas in terms of upward mobility — defined as the average income of people with the poorest parents — are all in the northern plains.

Original story: (10/18/18)

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