Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Reproduced from Chetty, et. al, 2018, "Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective"; Note: Location based on where men grew up; Map: Axios Visuals

The fastest-growing cities in the U.S. may be adding lots of jobs for well-off people, but many have low rates of upward mobility for lower-income kids growing up there. And it's especially bleak for black males, according to Raj Chetty, Harvard economics professor and director of Opportunity Insights, a research and policy organization.

Why it matters: The extent of racial disparities and economic mobility "is so extreme in the U.S. that it's almost like they're two Americas," Chetty said about the maps above.

  • The places that have the very highest rates of mobility for black men, like Boston, actually have lower rates of upward mobility than the very worst places of upward mobility for white men, like Charlotte.
  • Chetty's research showed that job growth and investment happening in Charlotte and Atlanta, for example, aren't creating opportunities evenly, and black male youths are disproportionately being left behind.

What they did: The researchers analyzed outcomes of about 4 million families that moved across neighborhoods and tracked the outcomes of children of low-income parents over 30 years.

What they found: Childhood environments are stronger indicators of upward mobility than where individuals go to college or move as young adults.

  • Moving to a better neighborhood at a very young age correlated with much stronger upward mobility as adults. In fact, every extra year of exposure to better childhood environments improved outcomes.

Downward mobility is also critical. White men from affluent families are likely to stay affluent as adults. But black men from affluent backgrounds are nearly just as likely to end up in the bottom tier of the income distribution than the top tier.

"If you think of achieving the American dream as climbing an income ladder for white Americans, it’s more like being on a treadmill for black Americans. Even after you've made the climb up in one generation, there are tremendous structural forces that tend to push you back down in the next generation and you have to make the climb again."
— Raj Chetty, speaking at the Results for America Summit in Washington, D.C.

And the disparities are likely to worsen over the next decade.

  • By 2030, African American workers stand to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs as a result of increased automation, widening the racial wealth gap and weighing down overall U.S. growth, according to a report from McKinsey & Co.

The bottom line: A strong national economy only goes so far. The most important factor in determining upward mobility is the conditions in the half-mile radius around where you live, Chetty said.

  • "While we often think of the decline of the American dream as a national problem — a challenge we’d like to solve through federal policy solutions — I really think the roots of these issues are at the very local level."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.