Economists Raj Chetty (Harvard), John Friedman (Brown), and Nathan Hendren (Harvard) founded the Opportunity Insights institute, which uses data to document both the decline of the American Dream and potential solutions to revive it.

On October 1, they launched the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive tool that lets users discover which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty. The Atlas used anonymous data to compile a dataset that includes 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s.

The launch was well received by media, with feature articles appearing in the NY Times, NPRWashington Post, and the AP, as well as several other national and local outlets. The coverage largely focused on the finding that children’s outcomes in adulthood vary sharply across neighborhoods that are just a mile or two apart, and that moving to a better neighborhood earlier in childhood can increase a child’s income by several thousand dollars. Several local outlets also highlighted nearby “opportunity bargains” as identified in the study, which are affordable neighborhoods that produce good outcomes for children.

Here are some highlights:

  • NY Times: Detailed New National Maps Show How Neighborhoods Shape Children for Life
  • NPR: The American Dream Is Harder To Find In Some Neighborhoods 
  • Associated Press: Job Growth Is Found to Be No Cure for a Community’s Poverty
  • Charlotte Observer: New ‘atlas’ of mobility shows how kids from different Charlotte neighborhoods have done
  • The Plain Dealer: Neighborhoods matter: Exploring ‘Opportunity Atlas’ for places that might help poor kids get ahead
  • Harvard Gazette: Reviving the American dream, one neighborhood at a time
  • Washington Post: Downward mobility: Where middle-class kids are worse off than their parents
  • ABC Action News: Interactive map: How much does your zip code determine where you end up in life?