CINCINNATI (Oct. 23, 2023) — “Is it about the neighborhoods, or families that live in the neighborhoods (that determines economic success)? Data suggests that neighborhoods have a causal effect on kids’ future economic mobility . . . when kids move as they are growing up, from lower mobility to higher mobility neighborhoods, they do better as adults.”
This Knowledge Exchange webinar features John Friedman, founding co-director of Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based research lab. Key findings of Friedman and his colleagues illustrate why connectedness matters and how it facilitates an individual’s ability to move out of poverty. Friedman shares that characteristics of high-economic-mobility neighborhoods include better school quality, lower poverty rates, more stable family structures and greater social capital/connections. In cities with higher levels of social capital — that is, with more economic connectedness based on the extent of friendships and exposure across class lines — upward economic mobility is higher.
For nonprofit leaders who wish to incorporate insights from Friedman’s research on social capital and economic connectedness into their own work, Friedman encourages taking stock of what they’re already doing and where it’s already working. What children are they serving or not serving? He recommends programs to help build social capital in schools. In addition, he suggests investing in holistic programs focused on work skills and building social connections. Such programs are helpful throughout childhood, but especially when students are transitioning from high school to college or workforce training programs.
To learn more about Opportunity Insights Social Capital Atlas, please visit socialcapital.org.