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Where Poor Kids Grow Up Makes A Huge Difference

In two new studies, Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues found that where poor kids grow up has a huge effect on how much money they earn as adults.

In one study, families living in public housing were randomly selected to be eligible for housing vouchers that required them to move to low poverty neighborhoods. Kids whose families received the vouchers grew up to earn significantly more than those whose families remained in public housing.

In a second study, Chetty and his colleagues looked at data for millions of families who moved from one county to another. Based on this data, they were able to estimate how much where poor kids grow up affects their income as adults.

The table below lists the 50 U.S. counties that have the biggest effects on kids' incomes as adults. The numbers, based on the new research, show how much growing up in a given county affects a child's annual income as an adult.

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