Urban sprawl makes it harder to get ahead

Washington D.C, Jan 28 (ANI): If you want to rise through the socioeconomic ranks, you should be in a city and not the suburbs as a new study suggests that urban sprawl stunts upward mobility.

The University of Utah’s Reid Ewing and his colleagues in Utah, Texas and Louisiana, tested the relationship between urban sprawl and upward mobility for metropolitan areas in the United States.

The study examined potential pathways through which sprawl may have an effect on mobility and uses mathematical models to account for both direct and indirect effects of sprawl on upward mobility. The direct effects are through access to jobs and the indirect effects are through integration of different income classes.

Ewing said that the result is that upward mobility is significantly higher in compact areas than sprawling areas, adding that as the compactness index for a metropolitan area doubles, the likelihood that a child is born into the bottom fifth of national income distribution will reach the top firth by age 30 increases by 41 percent.

He noted that the chance of upward mobility for Americans is just half that of the citizens of Denmark and many other European countries. The U.S. is much more sprawling in comparison. In addition to other influences, the built environment may contribute to the low rate of upward mobility in the U.S.

The study is published online in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning. (ANI)

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