The Bell Curve and its discontents
Yet the parts of this country with the highest mobility rates — like Pittsburgh, Seattle and Salt Lake City — have rates roughly as high as those in Denmark and Norway, two countries at the top of the international mobility rankings. In areas like Atlanta and Memphis, by comparison, upward mobility appears to be substantially lower than in any other rich country, Mr. Chetty said.
The original research out of Berkeley and Harvard is at: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/
This all is far more interesting than is obvious though it is a big deal unto itself . Throughout Pittsburgh's manufacturing-centered economy the income distribution here was anomalous compared to most of the rest of the nation. Most of the nation had a relatively bell-shaped income distribution (albeit with a long upper tail) defined by a large number of households near the middle. One could argue America is defined by that big middle class as it were. What folks don't realize, and what I attribute a lot of our lingering pathologies to, is that Pittsburgh and just a few other regions did not have a big bulge of incomes near the middle. We actually had a bimodal income distribution which means there were two big humps. One concentration of relatively higher incomes and one big concentration of lower incomes. Makes for a very different dynamic and it persisted as long as manufacturing remained the crux of the local economy.