Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Detroit area, it’s better to be in Sanilac County than in Wayne County or Genesee County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Sanilac, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.
Every year a poor child spends in Sanilac County adds about $100 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $2,100, or 8 percent, more in average income as a young adult.