Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Still Believe in the American Dream of Upward Mobility? Move to Liberal States [and Utah]; Avoid the Conservative South

This Pew Research study confirms what I've known.  I lived in Florida for 10 years, and voluntarily left to return to Massachusetss.  Florida was great for the weather [in the fall, winter, and spring], and I loved visiting the national and state parks.  The beaches were gorgeous, and who could resist the laid-back Jimmy-Buffety Key West?  Or not love visiting the Dry Tortugas?  Miami didn't thrill me, but I was always happy to visit the little Greek village, Tarpon Springs and enjoy the food.  I lived on the Gulf and was grateful for all the enchanting sunsets I experienced.   

But there's more to life than being on a permanent vacation. 

My return to Massachusetts was an adjustment.  I had to learn to get used to the cold--the arctic cold--again.  But there's so much to do living in the city [where winters are not so arduous--no driveways to shovel and the city does a great job keeping the sidewalks clear], that I barely notice the bother of bad weather.  I'm too busy visiting museums, going to concerts, plays, and all the other activities that make living in a city exciting and fun.

What makes this a satisfying life is a comparatively well-run state.  It's far from perfect, and we certainly have our troubles in economic matters and the usual political scalawags to deal with.  But the Pew Research has found that one has a better chance of improving one's life here a Liberal state than in the Conservative states they've researched:

"Nine states, all in the South, have consistently lower upward and higher downward mobility compared to the nation as a whole. Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have worse economic mobility than the national average on all three measures investigated; Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas have worse mobility than the national average on two measures.

Eight states, primarily in the Mideast and New England regions, have consistently higher upward and lower downward mobility compared to the nation as a whole. Maryland, New Jersey, and New York have better economic mobility than the national average on all three measures investigated; Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Utah have better mobility than the national average on two measures.

The NY Times explains the Pew study HERE:
The states with more upwardly mobile populations were more likely to be liberal-leaning states, and those with more stagnant populations were more likely to be conservative-leaning states. But it is not clear if that correlation is causal; the report does not explain how public policy or other factors may have affected people’s chances of evolving from rags to riches.

“It was beyond the scope of the study to look at why states performed the way they did,” Ms. Currier said. “What I can say is that our previous research has found some particular drivers of economic mobility at the individual level, including education, savings and assets, and neighborhood poverty during childhood.”
You can find the fact sheet on the state by state study HERE."


In addition to Massachusettes being included in those states where one's chance for the American dream is more likely, I like to remind the uneducated that their swipes at Massachusetts as some sort of Liberal Nightmare is laughable, and grossly stupid.  

Among Liberal Massachusetts achievements:

Massachusetts [one of the least religious states in the US] has the lowest divorce rates, and is among those states with the lowest out -of-wedlock births.

In a...ranking of how well the states' K-12 schools are preparing their students for science and engineering careers, Massachusetts leads the pack, while Mississippi trails behind as 'worst in the United States.' The rankings are reported in the summer [2011] issue of the Newsletter of the Forum on Education of the American Physical Society.

Healthcare coverage?  We're the best.  Texas is the worst.

More people, as a percentage of population, have graduate degrees in Massachusetts than in any other state--D.C. is first, but it is not a state.

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As I have stated, we're not perfect, but Massachusetts does very well in terms of  quality of life and excellence in education.

So when you hear people denigrating "Liberal Massachusetts," ask them how their state measures up to the Liberal Bay State.


Leslie Parsley said...

I'm more than a little surprised TN wasn't included with their fellow southern states.

KP said...

Shaw, have you considered relocating to California? It's golden here; and well over 50 electoral votes sign sealed and delivered every four years :-)

I never even see national adds because nobody is silly enough to spend money here on a national election.

But beware, you will be subjected to the most over the top local elections on earth. Feels like Saturday Night Live in Cali.

KP said...

Massachusetts is half the size of Greece, two thirds the size of Sweden and two thirds larger than Ireland. Maybe Massachusetts should be arguing for increased state's rights so you can avoid the looming storm?

California has several counties larger than Massachusetts. We are bankrupt and this is not a conservative stronghold over the last twenty years.

Please, any state, do whatever you can to avoid becoming California. And beware, California is threatening to drag your state down with it.

I never thougt I would say it but I have been trying to get out of here for almost a decade.

Welcome to the Hotel California ...

Shaw Kenawe said...

KP, I've lived many years of my life [in increments] in California. My daughter lives in SoCal, so I've spent a lot of time there. I have a keen interest in the state since my two grandsons are growing up there.

I prefer northern California. I love San Francisco. Made many visits to Silicon Valley [husband worked in that industry]. I've also spent time in Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Monterey [I have a nephew going to the Army's language school there], and L.A., Santa Monica, and Pacific Palisades.

I've been to Napa Valley, Sebastapol [brother-in-law and fam. lived there], Yosemite, Palm Springs, Big Sur, Joshua Tree National Park, San Diego [love, love, love the zoo and the wild animal park], and just about every city in SoCal. I have a cousin who moved to Sacramento many, many years ago [he was involved in state government], but I've never visited the Capital.

Another nephew lives in Manhattan Beach and was recently featured on "The Shark Tank." He's in the music business--Tom Callahan.

I've probably left out some places. I've been visiting Cally since the '70s and seen a lot. You could say I'm a quasi-California girl. LOL!

Silverfiddle said...

All politics aside, you describe the beauty of living in the US. Happiness is not measured by wealth. It is an individual thing and each person pursues her happiness in her own way.

Tens of thousands of factory workers migrated south out of Michigan for non union states in the South. Others chose to stay.

Your point about Mass is why I don't bust on it. It seems to be going along just fine and the people are happy there, so why should I get cranked up about it not being conservative enough?

The only reason I criticize the liberal bastions of California and Illinois is because they will eventually crash and then we'll all be paying to bail them out.

Tim said...

Silverfiddle blue states have been "bailing out" red states for years. I always get a kick out of it when republicans complain about the taxes they send to DC when they get more back than what they sent. States like MI have always gotten less than we have kicked in.
I agree, KP, California is just too expensive for middle class folk to live there and get ahead. A million for a two bedroom condo (under 1000 sq. feet) in Frisco, or over $3,000 a month for rent. How do you save for retirement? I have a friend there who used to be director of security for a museum in SF and he is just getting by.
The only thing wrong with living in MI is the lack of a decent mountain for skiing, and the perpetual quagmire that is the city of Detroit, which I wish that they would take some of Silverfiddle's federal taxes and level everything except the downtown area and the few viable neighborhoods. Why is it that we can throw billions at New Orleans (or Kabul, or Baghdad, for that matter) but not at Detroit? I know "the failed liberal policies of the blah blah blah, and oh yes, just cut taxes and a million people will move in there because of the dynamic free market blah blah blah.
I'm so sick of the same crap from both parties, let's quit it and start really solving the problem already!

KP said...

@Tim << let's quit it and start really solving the problem already! >>

Hear, hear ..

Thumbs up on the old movies and music, Tim.

KP said...

Shaw, you are part Californian. The good part, like a grandparent of tiny kids, you eventually get to go home!

KP said...

@Shaw Tom is one impressive guy! And his web site is top shelf. Very nice!

If he ever needs graphic design and production I have a very good friend in Los Angeles, Brian Johnson. Check out his work: he has done tones of music work as well.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'll pass that on to him, KP. Thank you.

Also, FYI, Tom is a Sensei in kyokushin-kan-karate.

KP, I've visited you website and your statement: "Commitment | Belief | Consistency" has made me think. Could I get back to my love of running? Would I be able to get back to training? To do this in Hyannis in two years?

Even typing that scares me. But I did type it. I don't know if it's possible...

I'd like to chat with you off-line.

My email is:

Shaw Kenawe said...

KP, forgot to give you the link to Tom's Sensei page.

Here it is.

KP said...

@Shaw I grew up in Santa Barbara county and my mom and sister still live there. I ligeguarded on those beaches for seven years. In my view, it is the most desireable place on earth to live if one can afford it. Santa Barbara overcomes California!

Infidel753 said...

While I can't imagine leaving Oregon in the foreseeable future, Massachusetts has always seemed like a comfortable and appealing place with the same kind of humane values that we have here (well, in the Portland area, anyway). I follow technology and science news, and Massachusetts is a world-class player in those fields.

I suspect the favorable K-12 school ranking (itself only possible under a government willing to invest solidly in schools) has a lot to do with the upward mobility. Education and skills are the key to success. Kids who can't spell, and are taught that the Earth is 6,000 years old, aren't exactly primed for success.

Shaw Kenawe said...

KP, close friends moved from Mass. to Santa Barbara--Hope Ranch, actually. I've spent a lot of time there.

My sisters and I used to complain to my father and ask why he settled in New England instead of continuing west to California, and especially Santa Barbara, since the climate and the landscape more closely resembles where he lived in Italy!

Love the towns that hug the Pacific on the way up to Santa Barbara--Carpentaria, Summerland. I've also visited the vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley. That whole area is gorgeous.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Portland has always intrigued me. Perhaps my next trip to the west coast I'll be able to visit Portlandia. It's great to see that show won a Peabody award.

"Portlandia “was recognized for the freshness and amiability of its send-ups of Oregon’s trendy city.” We are thrilled to be honored as one of the best shows around. The Peabodys, the oldest awards in broadcasting, are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media."

KP said...

You get it. My family home was in Carpinteria. The town was 10,000 people in 1967 when I was in 6th grade and had no stops lights. It is now 13,000 people in 2012 -- and is beach front. The key being that the hills prevent expansion. There is no access north or south or opportunity to expand. An amazingling fertile valley. Flowers and avocados rule.

KP said...

@Infidel753 Oregon is incredibly beautiful and forward thinking. If only that were enough.

When I visit Oregon and Washington and tell people where I am from (SoCal) I am met with scorn. It's like you have your little slice of heaven (you do of course) and want to offer opinions of the rest of us (I get it) without having your slice of heaven toasted by real life variables we face in Cali.

It's coming your way, buddy. And when Cali over runs your Oregon I want to hear what you have to say. I will be real interested in your post ten years from now.

Infidel753 said...

SK: I don't watch TV but I saw a video based on "Portlandia" once. The real Portland isn't that cool, but it does have some interesting quirks.

KP: "Overrun"? Something like half of Oregon's population was born outside the state. I lived most of my life in the San Francisco area and moved here in 1995. I never noticed any "scorn".

Silverfiddle said...

Tim: You are spouting suppositions.

I have read the study you refer to, including comments from the study's author. Have you?

There are many factors, such as Florida having a high population of retirees living on Social Security. States with national parks or military installations will also show up as receiving more federal money. Does that make these states a moocher state?

I recommend you go read the actual study instead of just the ignorant commentary that has sprung up around it.

Tim said...

I could say that you are ignorant because you disagree, but I'll leave that to you and your fellow republicans in the sunshine state, SF. National parks, Military installations, etc. equals JOBS! HELLO! Again, the same old tired junk. Cut taxes but cut the other guy's goodies.

Rational Nation USA said...

Tim and SF... Life is grand. All the more so with the opportunity reason presents us to figure out the root cause of our fiscal problems and frailties.

Don't ya think? Don't ya know?

Goin fishin...