January 26, 2014

Atlantic: "Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?"

Poor blacks more likely to stay poor, black
In other words, this is basically a map of blacks and huge Indian reservations
From The Atlantic:
Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South? 
Upward mobility has stayed the same the past 50 years despite skyrocketing inequality. But it's lower in the South (and Ohio) than anywhere else in the U.S.—or the rest of the developed world. 
MATTHEW O'BRIEN 
JAN 26 2014, 9:00 AM ET

The top 1 percent aren't killing the American Dream. Something else is—if you live in the wrong place. 
Here's what we know. The rich are getting richer, but according to a blockbuster new study that hasn't made it harder for the poor to become rich. The good news is that people at the bottom are just as likely to move up the income ladder today as they were 50 years ago. But the bad news is that people at the bottom are just as likely to move up the income ladder today as they were 50 years ago. 
We like to tell ourselves that America is the land of opportunity, but the reality doesn't match the rhetoric—and hasn't for awhile. We actually have less social mobility than countries like Denmark. And that's more of a problem the more inequality there is. Think about it like this: Moving up matters more when there's a bigger gap between the rich and poor. So even though mobility hasn't gotten worse lately, it has worse consequences today because inequality is worse. 
But it's a little deceiving to talk about "our" mobility rate. There isn't one or two or even three Americas. There are hundreds. The research team of Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Herndon, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez looked at each "commuting zone" (CZ) within the U.S., and found that the American Dream is still alive in some parts of the country. Kids born into the bottom 20 percent of households, for example, have a 12.9 percent chance of reaching the top 20 percent if they live in San Jose. That's about as high as it is in the highest mobility countries. But kids born in Charlotte only have a 4.4 percent chance of moving from the bottom to the top 20 percent. That's worse than any developed country we have numbers for.

And yet all sorts of people are disagreeing with Professor Chetty and pouring into Charlotte. From Wikipedia on the municipality of Charlotte:

2000 population: 540,828
2012 population: 775,203

Chetty's study fails simple reality checks. For example, he finds the Charlotte area to have the worst prospects of any metropolitan zone in the country (and Atlanta third to worst). Yet, Charlotte has been growing rapidly because hundreds of thousands of people don't think Prof. Chetty is right.

And much of that population growth stems from African-Americans moving from the North down South. From the New York Times:
For New Life, Blacks in City Head to South

By DAN BILEFSKY 
Published: June 21, 2011 
... The economic downturn has propelled a striking demographic shift: black New Yorkers, including many who are young and college educated, are heading south. 
About 17 percent of the African-Americans who moved to the South from other states in the past decade came from New York, far more than from any other state, according to census data. Of the 44,474 who left New York State in 2009, more than half, or 22,508, went to the South, according to a study conducted by the sociology department of Queens College for The New York Times. 
The movement is not limited to New York. The percentage of blacks leaving big cities in the East and in the Midwest and heading to the South is now at the highest levels in decades, demographers say. 
... New York is increasingly unaffordable, and blacks see more opportunities in the South. 
The South now represents the potential for achievement for black New Yorkers in a way it had not before, Professor Crew said. At the same time, unionized civil service jobs that once drew thousands of blacks to the city are becoming more scarce. 
... But Ms. Brown says New York is now less inviting. She plans to join her 26-year-old son, Rashid, who moved to Atlanta from Queens last year after he graduated with a degree in criminology but could not find a job in New York.
In Atlanta, he became a deputy sheriff within weeks. She is hoping to open a restaurant. 
“In the South, I can buy a big house with a garden compared with the shoe box my retirement savings will buy me in New York,” she said. 

A massive problem with Chetty's map, as I pointed out in the NYT last summer is that the cost of living varies so much across the country. San Jose has very high land costs and very high wages. Charlotte has modest land costs and modest wages. They are both fairly successful places considering their highly different demographics, but Chetty's methodology puts them at opposite ends of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country because he failed to consider the question of standard of living. (His latest paper on social mobility over time takes a stab at adjusting for cost of living, presumably due to my criticism in the NYT last July of his first paper on social mobility by city, but he really should withdraw his earlier paper, from which this map is taken, because it's so misleading.)

The other element is that the Bad Parts of the map largely denotes two things: Where the blacks are, and big Indian reservations like Pine Ridge, SD.

In contrast, note how West Virginia jumps out as a Beacon of Hope. Why? Because it's economy and education are so top notch? Nope. They're not. But West Virginia is very white, and whites regress toward a higher mean over the generations.

Let's look at Wikipedia for demographics in the 2010 Census. These numbers will be only for within the municipal boundaries, but they will give us a clue about the differences between who is in the bottom 20% in San Jose, CA versus who is in the bottom 20% in Charlotte, NC.

Percent African-American in 2010:

San Jose:   3.2%
Charlotte:   35.0%

Back to The Atlantic:
You can see what my colleague Derek Thompson calls the geography of the American Dream in the map below. It shows where kids have the best and worst chances of moving up from the bottom to the top quintile—and that the South looks more like a banana republic. (Note: darker colors mean there is less mobility, and lighter colors mean that there's more).

So what makes northern California different from North Carolina? Well, we don't know for sure, but we do know what doesn't. The researchers found that local tax and spending decisions explain some, but not too much, of this regional mobility gap. Neither does local school quality, at least judged by class size. Local area colleges and tuition were also non-factors. And so were local labor markets, including their share of manufacturing jobs and those facing cheap, foreign competition. But here's what we know does matter. Just how much isn't clear. 
1. Race. The researchers found that the larger the black population, the lower the upward mobility. But this isn't actually a black-white issue.

Actually, the overall shape of the map is a black-white (or black-everybody else) issue. Black children in the bottom 20% regress toward the black mean (median income of $33k), while white children in the bottom 20% regress toward the white mean (median income of $57k). In other words, poor blacks tend to stay poor, black.
It's a rich-poor one. Low-income whites who live in areas with more black people also have a harder time moving up the income ladder. In other words, it's something about the places that black people live that hurts mobility. 

In other words, the children of whites who can't afford to insulate, insulate, insulate them from poor blacks have poorer prospects in life.
2. Segregation.
Segregation is largely a function of the number and class of blacks. There's minimal segregation in the city of San Jose because only 3% of the population is black. The newer, faster growing parts of the country have less segregation than the old cities, but see Sprawl below for rationalization.
Something like the poor being isolated—isolated from good jobs and good schools. See, the more black people a place has, the more divided it tends to be along racial and economic lines. The more divided it is, the more sprawl there is. And the more sprawl there is, the less higher-income people are willing to invest in things like public transit. 

Oh, boy, "sprawl" as the problem of the black poor ... That's why poor blacks are doing so well in Baltimore. In contrast, San Jose has zero sprawl. No, I'm kidding, San Jose is virtually All Sprawl.
That leaves the poor in the ghetto, with no way out for their American Dreams. They're stuck with bad schools, bad jobs, and bad commutes if they do manage to find better work. So it should be no surprise that the researchers found that racial segregation, income segregation, and sprawl are all strongly negatively correlated with upward mobility. But what might surprise is that it doesn't matter whether the rich cut themselves off from everybody else. What matters is whether the middle class cut themselves off from the poor. 

Huh? Anyway, Charlotte, which is the bete noire of this article had a famous, much praised countywide school busing program that lasted for decades.
3. Social Capital. Living around the middle class doesn't just bring better jobs and schools (which help, but probably aren't enough). It brings better institutions too. Things like religious groups, civic groups, and any other kind of group that keeps people from bowling alone. All of these are strongly correlated with more mobility—which is why Utah, with its vast Mormon safety net and services, is one of the best places to be born poor. 

Take a look at Milwaukee (city is 40% black) in the map above: it's terrible, it's between Charlotte and Atlanta as the next-to-worst social mobility metropolis in the country. And yet the Wisconsin middle class is very good on Bowling Together.

Milwaukee's problem is that it has both a lot of blacks and particularly low quality blacks, largely because Wisconsin has a German social democracy heritage that led to generous, trusting welfare programs, which attracted the laziest people from the deep south.

My vague hunch from looking at a lot of data is that blacks thrive best under the rule of cheap, strict, not hugely sympathetic white conservatives, such as in Texas. But, to be frank, there isn't that much variation in black outcomes anywhere in the country, other than in a few states so isolated that most of the black residents are there because they could pass the AFQT test to join the military (e.g., Hawaii).
4. Inequality. The 1 percent are different from you and me—they have so much more money that they live in a different world. It's a world of $40,000 a year preschool, "nanny consultants," and an endless supply of private tutors. It keeps the children of the super-rich from falling too far, but it doesn't keep the poor from rising (at least into the top quintile). There just wasn't any correlation between the rise and rise of the 1 percent and upward mobility. In other words, it doesn't hurt your chances of making it into the top 80 to 99 percent if the super-rich get even richer.

As I pointed out in 2010, the rich don't take all that much land in America, they don't get all the hospital beds, and their kids don't wreck the public schools for your kids. What the rich do, however, is control the media, so policies that would economically benefit the average person are demonized as unthinkable.
But inequality does matter within the bottom 99 percent. The bigger the gap between the poor and the merely rich (as opposed to the super-rich), the less mobility there is. It makes intuitive sense: it's easier to jump from the bottom near the top if you don't have to jump as far. The top 1 percent are just so high now that it doesn't matter how much higher they go; almost nobody can reach them. 
5. Family Structure. Forget race, forget jobs, forget schools, forget churches, forget neighborhoods, and forget the top 1—or maybe 10—percent. Nothing matters more for moving up than who raises you. Or, in econospeak, nothing correlates with upward mobility more than the number of single parents, divorcees, and married couples. The cliché is true: Kids do best in stable, two-parent homes.  ...

I'll insert the relevant demographic figures in the next paragraph:
The American Dream is alive in Denmark and Finland and Sweden. And in San Jose [0.9% black in city] and Salt Lake City [2.7% black in city] and Pittsburgh [has a ghetto but the surrounding commuting zone is one of the whitest in the country]. But it's dead in Atlanta [city is 54% black] and Raleigh [29% black] and Charlotte [35% black]. And in Indianapolis [28% black] and Detroit [don't ask] and Jacksonville [31% black]. Fixing that isn't just about redistribution. It's about building denser cities, so the poor aren't so segregated.

Because black people have done so well in high density cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and the Bronx. (Blacks sometimes manage to make high density cities into ghost towns, but places like Gary and East St. Louis didn't start out that way.)

This is just SWPL bullying. SWPLs want to live in denser cities and they want to squeeze poor blacks out of their cities, so they just make up rationalizations about how they are pushing through density to benefit poor black people.

So, you have a map of social immobility that looks like a map of where the best Division I cornerback prospects are found, and everybody goes out of there way to explain that it's really much much much more complicated: Occam's Butterknife.

62 comments:

Ben said...

Good job pissing off all of the SWPLs at The Atlantic. I remember when they used to actually have good articles and not just clickbait. At least the magazine is still good, but I don't know why I even bother going over to their website any longer.

Anonymous said...

Kacey Musgraves just won a Grammy. Having never heard of her, I looked her up on google. It looks like she has pushed Country from melancholy to Nihilism. A sample: Merry Go Round . If this is a trend, it doesn't bode well for the RNC.

Of course her hits are "co-written" by white guys pushing 40.

Jeffrey S. said...

Steve,

If the Atlantic had any sense (and any shred of self-respect left) they would hire you to sit around the editorial office and just ask questions of their clueless staff -- stuff like: "if density/sprawl is the problem, how come blacks in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, The Bronx, etc. didn't do better over the past 50 years?"

It would save them a lot of embarrassment (although their writers might not know what to do with themselves after they got done answering all your questions).

theo the kraut said...

Steve, there's a direct link to your comment: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/the-complex-story-of-race-and-upward-mobility/#permid=4

Anonymous said...

you can make fun of misssissippi all you want in school achievment (they are dead last), but the have a 38% african american population, highest in the nation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_African-American_population

Anonymous said...

As I pointed out in 2010, the rich don't take all that much land in America,

Mostly because there's so few of them.

they don't get all the hospital beds,

Ditto, or they at least don't have to compete with the middle class for the same beds.

and their kids don't wreck the public schools for your kids.

No the spoiled rich brats just make life hell for everyone else in the school.

candid_observer said...

Some of the findings, as you say, just don't pass the simplest sanity checks.

Supposedly, the whites of W Virginia do great in mobility, but the whites of, say, Mississippi do horribly.

My understanding is that the authors gauge white mobility in highly black "commuting zones" by tracking the performance of whites in Zip codes with at least 80% whites which lie in those commuting zones. (This in any case suggests that it's not inadequate separation between poor blacks and poor whites that's at issue, given the dominance of whites in the ZIP code. One guesses that these are mostly rural whites.)

But what possible relevant difference might there be, culturally, economically, or in any other way, between the whites of W Virginia and those of eastern N Carolina, or western Tennessee, or Mississippi?

It's as if there's something magical about the presence of blacks -- even in the next ZIP code -- that depresses the mobility of whites.

Anonymous said...

"This is just SWPL bullying. SWPLs want to live in denser cities and they want to squeeze poor blacks out of their cities, so they just make up rationalizations about how they are pushing through density to benefit poor black people."

They must think we are really dense.

Both extreme density and extreme sprawl result from too-many-blacks.

Some come together and circle the wagons. It's crowding-into-the castle-fortress method.

Some move away into more open areas to get away from concentrations of blacks.
It's fleeing-to-the-countryside method. (When cities are bombed during war, many people head for the outskirts.)

Anonymous said...

I hear they are planning to send immigrants into Detroit to fix it up. Price of making it in America. Indentured servitude to work near blacks and build an economy for them.

Flock and awe.

Anonymous said...

http://mindweaponsinragnarok.com/2014/01/25/india-and-the-rest-of-the-world-is-racist-liberals-who-hold-whites-to-a-higher-standard-are-white-supremacists/

Reg Cæsar said...

(0.9% black in city)

Brackets, please, brackets!

Parentheses put your words in their mouths. And you sure as hell don't want them doing that back to you. Different fonts and colors make it even clearer.

Your (deservedly) snarky comments are not only more entertaining, but more informative as well. Why would you not want to distinguish them from the words of timid "journalists" walking a tightrope?

Anonymous said...

It's a rich-poor one. Low-income whites who live in areas with more black people also have a harder time moving up the income ladder. In other words, it's something about the places that black people live that hurts mobility.

In other words, the children of whites who can't afford to insulate, insulate, insulate them from poor blacks have poorer prospects in life.

A 2001 study from Princeton, 'Mortality, Income Inequality, and Race in America', includes this:

Mortality among both whites and blacks and fraction of the population that is black are higher in southern
cities and states than in other parts of the United States. However, the authors find that the strong positive
correlation between white mortality and the fraction black holds within all four broad Census regions of
the country, and within states. Thus, the relationship is not driven by any particular region of the country,
or by a comparison of geographically dissimilar places

ben tillman said...

But what might surprise is that it doesn't matter whether the rich cut themselves off from everybody else. What matters is whether the middle class cut themselves off from the poor.

Gee, what a coincidence that 50 years ago the central government enacted policies designed to make exactly this thing happen to Black communities while destroying White urban communities as well! How curious!

Bert said...

Liberals have always hated the reality that white people were able to flee the social engineering that destroyed their urban communities. They absolutely despise that white suburbs exist that can provide a father in Maryland an inexpensive and safe place to raise his family without having to brave the horror of Baltimore.

In all honestly, I don't like suburban sprawl and would very much like to put a stop to paving over precious farmland to build cookie-cutter houses. But these elitists are truly sick.

Reg Cæsar said...

(Note: darker colors mean there is less mobility, and lighter colors mean that there's more). --Matthew O'Brien on Raj Chetty, et al.

Wow! I can't believe someone in a major US magazine came right out and sa… oh, wait.

He's referring to the map. Chetty Chetty, bang bang…

Anonymous said...

The American Dream is alive in Denmark and Finland and Sweden. And in San Jose and Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh. But it's dead in Atlanta and Raleigh and Charlotte. And in Indianapolis and Detroit and Jacksonville. Fixing that isn't just about redistribution. It's about building denser cities, so the poor aren't so segregated.

So the American Dream is still alive in Pittsburgh. But recall that Pittsburgh has a major crisis. In 2011, Pittsburgh was named the least diverse big city in the nation.

It would be hard for any metropolitan area to be whiter than Pittsburgh.

It's so hard, in fact, that of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States, only one has a smaller share of blacks, Hispanics and Asians -- the Scranton-Wilkes Barre region of northeastern Pennsylvania.


Anonymous said...

There's also a concern with this study that hasn't really been mentioned much anywhere but should be. Chetty et al have a glaring omission in their paper which is a lack of reporting by gender.

In every time period and in every other nation studied, such as in Europe, there is a huge mobility gap between the sexes. Other such studies have reported data on this so it really seems an odd omission. Whatever academics claim the cause of this to be, the numbers are unassailable, and could tell us more than the current conclusions.

It is possible, for instance, that in the Chetty data compared to data from the past, mobility got worse for either males or females while better for the other group. Not entirely stagnant over time then, though that possibility isn't even addressed.

Thomas said...

Check your numbers on San Jose. I'm assuming you were using this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jose,_California#2010

Black populaiton in 2010 was 3.2%, not 0.9%. 0.9% was the Native American population (the way the figures are laid out in that article is confusing). That's still very low, obviously. There are fewer blacks in San Jose than there are Indian-Americans.

Dave Pinsen said...

Another fact about Pittsburgh that gets little attention when the city is cited as a (relative) success story is that it lost about half its population when the domestic steel industry shrunk. So most of the jobs never came back, but unemployment came down as the population of job seekers shrank.

Anonymous said...


>>Dave Pinsen said...
""Another fact about Pittsburgh that gets little attention when the city is cited as a (relative) success story is that it lost about half its population when the domestic steel industry shrunk. So most of the jobs never came back, but unemployment came down as the population of job seekers shrank.""

And Pgh has one of the top medical centers in US so the medical field and all related industries have tended to gravitate toward it. Pgh merely reinvented itself

But the median age is still above 40 and the city still attracts fewer young people than other comparable metro areas.


>>The Atlantic wrote:
""But inequality does matter within the bottom 99 percent. The bigger the gap between the poor and the merely rich (as opposed to the super-rich), the less mobility there is. It makes intuitive sense: it's easier to jump from the bottom near the top if you don't have to jump as far. The top 1 percent are just so high now that it doesn't matter how much higher they go; almost nobody can reach them."


It has always been this way in American history. Back at last turn of the century, names like Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller, Vanderbuilt, etc were definitely in the top 1%. The vast difference between J.D. Rockefeller (estimates to his personal fortune was close to 400 million in terms of real dollars, he was the Bill Gates of his era) and there was no Income Tax.

Thus the Great Magnates of Industry were today's equivalent of Gates; Jobs; Carlos Slim; Zuckerberg; etc. The bottom averaged about 900 a year in salary, worked 6 days per wk at 10-12hrs a day in urban centers and considerably longer hrs if they lived on farms. It was just as difficult to make the leap into the top 10% where, then as now, you needed a college education (for the most part) and fewer people attended college then.

Bottom line: Little has changed from the vast gulf between the top 1% and the bottom of the totem pole. We just have more readily available technology.

Peter the Shark said...

only one has a smaller share of blacks, Hispanics and Asians -- the Scranton-Wilkes Barre region of northeastern Pennsylvania.

So if you were a long term investor - Scranton-Wilkes Barre is a great place to invest. Cheap real estate now, but the town will probably grow over the next few decades faster than most US regions. The area has "good bones" too - some beautiful 19th century architecture, excellent outdoor recreation, even a tasty, if unhealthy, regional cuisine (I have had great Strombolis in Wilkes Barre).

Anonymous said...

>>and their kids don't wreck the public schools for your kids.<<

"""No the spoiled rich brats just make life hell for everyone else in the school.""""


Ok, Karl, time to rethink that. Are the rich kids the ones causing schools to put in metal detectors and hire armed security? Didn't think so.

Making life hell in a figurative sense perhaps. In a literal sense, no. That honor is reserved for other special people, and they aren't in the top 1 or even 80%.

Dave Pinsen said...

You want "good bones", what about Paterson, NJ? Has some beatiful architecture too, plus pretty topography, and it's only ~20 min west of Manhattan.

Felix M said...

Like the way that Matthew O'Brien refers to the American dream in terms of being in the top 20%. Contrary to Lake Wobegan, only 20% of folks in the US are going to reach this benchmark.j

Mrs. Blessed said...

Thanks for the link to that Musgraves song, Anonymous at 1/26/14, 8:36 PM! I didn't bother to listen to it, but I did read the lyrics at http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kaceymusgraves/merrygoround.html. Someone, probably older than 40ish, has been listening to too much Pete Seeger ("Little Boxes"). The nihilism isn't new--it is the same old Scots-Irish enmity, now with a twang...

David said...

Upward income mobility is largely a myth and current income inequality is obscene. This much is true.

But Chetty's purported solution to this economic problem - cram nonwhites and middle-class whites together more - is plain nuts.

If the solutions to this problem ought to include racial ones (by no means is this obvious), then it's more segregation that would be in order, not less. This recommendation comports better with the data, as Steve's analysis would indicate, but Chetty, as if he's from Bizarro World, cheerleads for the opposite recommendation.

Evidently Chetty is just another flack for the elites. His recommendation would have the effect of decreasing upward income mobility. As to current economic inequality, it would leave untouched capital's exploitation of labor.

agnostic said...

"but Chetty, as if he's from Bizarro World, cheerleads for the opposite recommendation."

He's from India, which might as well *be* Bizarro World for us.

As if getting a PhD in econ doesn't make a person clueless enough, these days that person is also more likely than not a foreigner, hence even less in touch with local conditions and history. Just as we would be if we got an econ degree in Russia or India or China.

From a paper I just read:

"The Survey of Earned Doctorates shows that the major portion of the decline in the share of U.S. citizens earning economics doctorates at American universities began in 1980... Until then Americans earned about 70% of U.S. economics doctorates but that percentage had fallen to about 25% by 2006."

The timing, with a shift around 1980, points to the general rise of inequality / hauling in more foreigners.

Since foreigners make up the vast majority of customers of grad school tuition and fees at American econ departments, self-interested economists will be even more likely than other groups to push for letting in more foreigners.

They don't feel threatened because most of those foreign PhD's will go back to their home country or somewhere else to work for an international corporation, NGO, etc. I'm sure their own look at the stats on where their graduates head off to would confirm this.

It's hard to think of a more shameful lot than economists, and they aren't making it any easier.

JayMan said...

As for the distribution of the various groups in America, I have a nice little graphic here:

Colors and Lights | JayMan's Blog

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin has a German social democracy heritage that led to generous, trusting welfare programs, which attracted the laziest people from the deep south

Don't forget, Milwaukee attracted the laziest people from Cabrini Green as well.

MJM said...

>>>> racial segregation, income segregation, and sprawl are all strongly negatively correlated with upward mobility.

I just read somewhere that "having a job is strongly correlated with upward mobility"

Anonymous said...

Controlling for IQ (AFQT), blacks and whites have the same probability of rising out of the bottom economic quintile:

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/01/us-economic-mobility-data.html

Anonymous said...

New York is increasingly unaffordable, and blacks see more opportunities in the South.

I know this is BIG NEWS! at the NYT, but many blacks see the South as more sympatico than NYC. A young black guy with a criminology degree can Barney Fife right out of school in a black area in Georgia. His mom can open up a chicken shack, make some spending money and gossip with the neighbors. Sure beats Brooklyn these days, with all those white hipsters and yuppie Manhattan refugees bidding up rents and house prices.

sunbeam said...

I've kind of put out arguments here before about how certain places are destined to be poor if you look at a map and have some knowledge of the terrain.

The genetic aspects of West Virginia (Scotch-Irish) might have something to do with it. But other states with similar demographics did better, Tennessee and even Texas.

You might bring up Switzerland, and say that smart people make the desert bloom as it were.

Kind of think there is more to it than that. Anyone here know enough of both places to contrast them with an eye to geography and land details?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sailer,
Here's a research idea. Do an analysis of the rate of professional athlete bankruptcy across the ethnic persuasions. I suspect that what would emerge is that even when magically propelled into the upper nth fractional-percentile blacks cannot maintain that position nearly as well as Caucasians. Last week in my neighborhood I watched the move-out process of a former professional football player from his foreclosed house. He and his extended family assiduously removed all the exterior flood light bulbs. If only he had cared as much about preserving the 10 million dollars that he was paid for making a few score tackles and pass deflections. Black poverty is a cultural and intelligence problem, not one of lack of contact with Caucasians.

keypusher said...

A possible way to carry the analysis forward would be to look at white IQ in the low-mobility areas. I assume Murray used the same NLSY data for _Coming Apart_ that he relied on for _The Bell Curve_ -- would the NLSY have that information?

Bill said...


David said...
Evidently Chetty is just another flack for the elites.

He's on the Harvard faculty. They are virtually all like that.

Bill said...


sunbeam said...
The genetic aspects of West Virginia (Scotch-Irish) might have something to do with it. But other states with similar demographics did better, Tennessee and even Texas.

I think you are making your mistake right here with the word "better." The people who stay in WV don't agree with you that living among strangers in an exurb with lots of gadgets is "better." The ones who agree with you leave.

Because WV is so chopped up geographically, and because it has been subject to so little in-migration (except recently in a few places) people tend to be closely related, both genetically and culturally, to their neighbors.

Since humans evolved in conditions like that, you should not be surprised that 1) they like conditions like that and 2) many of them choose to remain in conditions like that.

As an aside, parts of Tennessee are not really "better" in the sense you mean. There are geographically chopped up, ethnically homogenous parts of TN, too. And these look a lot like WV, at least to me.

Mountain people get to keep their culture and their heritage longer because flatlanders mostly don't give a crap. They don't give a crap because they don't find mountain people threatening and because mountainous places tend to be poor. Our elite has mostly not made destroying the cultural and ethnic homogeneity of mountain people a priority. There was no Great Migration to the hollers of WV.

They could change their mind any old time, though. Just as they could change their mind about leaving the Amish alone.

Camlost said...

Rashid, who moved to Atlanta from Queens last year after he graduated with a degree in criminology but could not find a job in New York.
In Atlanta, he became a deputy sheriff within weeks. She is hoping to open a restaurant.


He got a job with either the DeKalb or Clayton county sheriff's department.

When rapidly shifting Clayton County (from 80% white to 80% AA in 30 years) got its first black sheriff (Victor Hill) he posted snipers on the rooftops across the streets to provide "security" as he promptly fired 30+ white staffers in the dept on his first day in office.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/01/04/sheriff-deploys-snipers-after-firing-dozens/

The blacks there keep electing him to office, despite being under federal and state indictment right now.

poolside said...

Of course her hits are "co-written" by white guys pushing 40.

And in the case of Shane McAnally, a gay white man pushing 40.

Grammy voters don't care about country music. They just want to make a political statement.

poolside said...

It was fascinating to watch Atlantic commenters get the vapors last night when the real Steve Sailer showed up.

Anonymous said...

Saw Hsu's post a few weeks ago. Surprised this isn't entering the mainstream since it references a Pew study.

Or maybe that's what the pre-K mania is about? Raising the IQs of Blacks.

Anonymous said...

"""Controlling for IQ (AFQT), blacks and whites have the same probability of rising out of the bottom economic quintile""""


But blacks are a full standard deviation behind whites in IQ, so you really can't control for it. At best you can only take those blacks who are at the same IQ as whites and that number is going to be quite small, infinitesimal.













>>Sunbeam said:
""You might bring up Switzerland, and say that smart people make the desert bloom as it were."""


Sunny, what are you saying There's no desert in the alps!

jody said...

i have lived in both charlotte and indianapolis. growing cities with steady economic development, infrastructure improvement, and nice suburbs. the author is wrong, obviously. growth in charlotte is explosive, and i've stated before that my opinion is north carolina is the best state in the south.

less discussed is that people in illinois and especially chicago are leaving and moving to indy. not a flood, as it is with people leaving california, but a steady flow, to escape high costs and high taxes.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Liberals have always hated the reality that white people were able to flee the social engineering that destroyed their urban communities. They absolutely despise that white suburbs exist that can provide a father in Maryland an inexpensive and safe place to raise his family without having to brave the horror of Baltimore."

That's a great point.

I was listening to NPR the other day and they had a piece on de facto school segregation due to white flight. Atlanta was very proud that they had re-drawn their city boundaries to "capture"--that's a direct quote--white families trying to flee the Atlanta school system.

Also, the corollary to the whole piece was that the only way to improve a black failing school district is to get some white kids in. Can you imagine if a conservative said such a thing?

Living in the NJ burbs my school system is fine with lots of middle class black kids whose families have fled the neighboring school systems which are disastrous. However, they did force each new development to build low income condos that are invariably filled with criminals, single moms, drug addicts, etc.

They really need to rub our noses in "diversity".


countenance said...

Matthew O'Brien tries to have it both ways in this screed. He says that institutions are largely irrelevant, leading his mind to race, but then when he deals with race, he's too scared to go there and says that institutions make all the difference.

Drop a book about HBD in O'Brien's lap. Either he'll have an epiphany or a mental breakdown.

Re West Virginia: I'm not clear about something. Is this study relating to people who stay in those same geographical units, or a study of people who started out there and went somewhere else? If it's the latter, then the explanation for WV being light colored is the notion that anyone with any sort of "get up and go" got up and went. The reason, therefore, WV would be light colored is that the West Virginians who were West Virginians when this study started now live elsewhere and are doing much better, because they had to go elsewhere in order to do much better.

Also: Is this purely a study of upward income mobility? Or is it bi-directional? A red area might be red because of income stagnancy, but in terms of it was rich before and it's still rich. It is possible to have income mobility by being rich then becoming something other than rich.

Dutch Boy said...

No mystery here: blacks are leaving the Rust Belt/Freeze belt and heading back down South, where at least one won't freeze your tail off half the year.

Svigor said...

If the solutions to this problem ought to include racial ones (by no means is this obvious), then it's more segregation that would be in order, not less.

It's important we make plain that more Segregation need not be the solution - just more Freedom. Given more Freedom, more Segregation will inevitably be the outcome. This is a nice, big, fat chink in the leftist armor; Freedom and leftism are at odds.

I've kind of put out arguments here before about how certain places are destined to be poor if you look at a map and have some knowledge of the terrain.

The genetic aspects of West Virginia (Scotch-Irish) might have something to do with it. But other states with similar demographics did better, Tennessee and even Texas.

You might bring up Switzerland, and say that smart people make the desert bloom as it were.

Kind of think there is more to it than that. Anyone here know enough of both places to contrast them with an eye to geography and land details?


I think there's probably a pretty good correlation between how mountainous an area is and poverty. I think that's Appalachia's main problem. The land is more expensive to develop, and more expensive to travel even when it is developed, so, it gets developed last and more backward types tend to remain in the meantime. But that all seems fairly obvious so maybe you're asking for something else?

They could change their mind any old time, though. Just as they could change their mind about leaving the Amish alone.

As I hear it, they left the Amish alone because the Amish were willing to go to prison, rather than compromise on their beliefs. I don't know if they're still cut from the same cloth, but if they are, I think that puts them past the threshold of what the regime wants to mess with; there are many more suitable targets available.

When rapidly shifting Clayton County (from 80% white to 80% AA in 30 years) got its first black sheriff (Victor Hill) he posted snipers on the rooftops across the streets to provide "security" as he promptly fired 30+ white staffers in the dept on his first day in office.

I guarantee you can find that one at Amren under the "blacks in charge" tag.

But blacks are a full standard deviation behind whites in IQ, so you really can't control for it. At best you can only take those blacks who are at the same IQ as whites and that number is going to be quite small, infinitesimal.

I think his point was that it was evidence of meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the liberal left, who loves IVF, put white and East Asian sperm and eggs inside black people so all of their offspring will be mulattos and Blasians?

Or is "lightening" blacks with White and East Asian sperm and eggs completely racist?

I'm serious. Liberals are alright with IVF. Why not "improve" African-American genetic material by only allowing people to have mixed race offspring?

jody said...

"I've kind of put out arguments here before about how certain places are destined to be poor if you look at a map and have some knowledge of the terrain. The genetic aspects of West Virginia (Scotch-Irish) might have something to do with it. But other states with similar demographics did better, Tennessee"

or was it the tennessee valley authority? created by the federal government because tennessee was SO backwards that in 1933 they were still using lamps instead of electricity.

genuine question, no snark intended. i'm not familiar enough with the area. but i have heard there were some places where the people did not have electricity until AFTER WORLD WAR 2!

all of world war 2 was fought and vast regions had no electric light or even telephones.

Anonymous said...

There is good reason for northern blacks to move to the south. The black culture of the south is much more friendly and conducive to a good life. There is still a psychological divide between blacks and whites (something the whites just cannot give up) – but the Bull Conner days are long past – and there is kind of a benign separation between the two races (one of the few accomplishments of the law in the last sixty years).

This situation leaves the southern black to pretty much live in his own culture. The thing about the southern backs is that they retain their African cultural trait of a sense of fun and joy for living. Old blacks are forever lost in the history of race hate, but with younger southern blacks, when you break the ice with friendly conversation, their innate good cheer bubbles out. They are fundamentally happy people.

Southern blacks are less mobile because they like their cultural situation.

p.s. Surprise surprise – in a cacophony of pseudo intellectualism the metro liberal professor somehow managed to find the north good and the south bad - ho hum.

Anonymous said...

"As an aside, parts of Tennessee are not really "better" in the sense you mean. There are geographically chopped up, ethnically homogenous parts of TN, too. And these look a lot like WV, at least to me."

Except that those bad mountain areas of Tennessee aren't nearly as bad as those of West Virginia. The mountain valleys in Tennessee are much broader and as a result the communities are less isolated and more on the ball than those of WV. Also, the mountains of TN are more impressively massive and easier for tourists to get to than those of WV. Hence the more tourist dollars that TN gets relative to WV.

Anonymous said...

When I clicked the country-singer Youtube link above I got treated to an ad about how Red Bull was helping Detroit become vibrant again. I suspect this particular spot won't age as well as the Xerox scrivener or GM's suicidal factory robot.

Amrut 46% said...

Advertisements are less memorable now, because white women hate hate HATE Terry Tate, Office Linebacker.

Anonymous said...


"""""The thing about the southern backs is that they retain their African cultural trait of a sense of fun and joy for living. Old blacks are forever lost in the history of race hate, but with younger southern blacks, when you break the ice with friendly conversation, their innate good cheer bubbles out. They are fundamentally happy people."""""


Be careful, that's what antebellum Slave owners claimed. That their blacks were more or less happy and contented and why should the mean ol' abolitionists wanna rock the boat?



"""""Southern blacks are less mobile because they like their cultural situation.""""


Which part do they like? The 85% out of wedlock births? Lots of joy and mirth going on, apparently. The 3rd rate education that they receive? The high crime in the cities?

Again, which part are they truly happy and content with? But then, if they consider these things to be part of their culture, then so be it.

So long as they're happy, apparently that's really all that counts.

Gotcha.

my 500th post said...

It's easy to see why making white flight difficult would be necessary under the old rubric in which municipal/county jobs are paid for by local taxes - conceivably if there are no whites to e.g. ride BART, then perhaps scores of BART jobs filled by blacks would face elimination. But underr the developing pattern, in which the federal govt. Subsidizes everything (and both education and public transportation already get much federal subsidy), there would seem to be no real need to hold whites in, save for plain old bad faith.

Whiskey said...

Ads are less funny because they appeal only to women. Who have essentially no sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

I was born in the Midwest in 1942. We did not get electricity on the farm until around 1951. Why? Because the distances between customers was so great the electric companies would not spend the money. Much like Internet service in the rural areas today.

People lobbied and the government came up with an agency, REA. I think it means Rural Electrification Agency or something like that.

So, pole were installed, wires were strung. Once they were in place, and it became obvious the farmers would use electricity at a profitable level, the electric companies which had refused to supply electricity started suing that their franchises were being violated.

I think my brother's farm is now serviced not by REA or REC but by one of those original companies that wouldn't build the lines.

Anonymous age 71

Anonymous said...

my 500th post said...

"It's easy to see why making white flight difficult would be necessary under the old rubric in which municipal/county jobs are paid for by local taxes - conceivably if there are no whites to e.g. ride BART, then perhaps scores of BART jobs filled by blacks would face elimination. But under the developing pattern, in which the Federal govt. Subsidizes everything (and both education and public transportation already get much federal subsidy), there would seem to be no real need to hold whites in, save for plain old bad faith."

1/27/14, 4:35 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------

"All this is a digression," O'Brien added in a different tone. "The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men." He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: "How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?"

Winston thought. "By making him suffer," he said.

"Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation."

David said...

>or was it the tennessee valley authority? created by the federal government because tennessee was SO backwards that in 1933 they were still using lamps instead of electricity.

genuine question, no snark intended. i'm not familiar enough with the area. but i have heard there were some places where the people did not have electricity until AFTER WORLD WAR 2!<

What you heard is correct. Even today many Tennesseans refer to their electric bill as "my light bill."

I read in Ayn Rand's Letters that Chatsworth, California (where she lived in a house formerly inhabited by Marlene Dietrich) had no telephone service in 1946.

Much of the country did not have TVs until the later 1950s. "Uncle Miltie" was strictly a northeastern metro phenomenon.

AC didn't really come in until the 1940s. H.L. Mencken hated it - was against it. He elaborately blocked every AC duct in his vicinity with tape.

Mexico City, outside the big hotels, is basically living in the late 1940s in some respects, for example the plumbing - which is supplied by water tanks on the top of buildings. I was astonished to discover, during Easter Week there, that the city shuts off what little modern water supplies they have, and the providers of water-tank water go on vacation. So that you have to husband your water during that week to make sure you don't run out.

In the rest of the world, roughly half the population literally has no pot to piss in, i.e. about 3 billion people live and die without ever seeing a toilet.

Civilized amenities, even in 2014, are a thin, spotty, recent line over a vast chasm of savagery.

Anonymous said...

About West Virginia, and other "hill country" (from one of these places and have watched it change), the biggest factor is simply good roads (or the lack of them).

Putting a modern superhighway into a town changes everything. Replacing some hairpin 2-lane thing on which it was dangerous to drive fast with something on which you can just peg it at 65 mph makes all the difference. It's easy to forget that there are still places that don't have good road connectivity.

Luke Lea said...

There's Sailer, having a field day again. Paid stooges, those NYT writers.

Anonymous said...

Jody said: "less discussed is that people in illinois and especially chicago are leaving and moving to indy. not a flood, as it is with people leaving california, but a steady flow, to escape high costs and high taxes."

Mostly true. Plenty are moving to Wisconsin too… not necessarily "Indy" I.E. Indianapolis, per se. Chicago is slowly shrinking though. Great article here on Chicago's problem of holding on to its middle class: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-10/news/ct-edit-xproject6a-demog-20131110_1_chicago-census-population