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Study finds pockets of economic mobility in Maine

October 6, 2018

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Maine children born from 1978 to 1983 have faced overall slim chances of ending up in the top 20 percent of their peers of household earnings, a study has found.

The Opportunity Atlas, a research project, tracked people across the country who were born in those years to track how they are faring in their 30s, the Bangor Daily News reported .

The study looked at several outcomes, including the chance that children born to homes at specific income levels would bring in higher earnings later in life. The study set income categories in 2015 dollars, with low-income families bringing in today’s equivalent of $25,000 a year and high-income families earning $95,000.

The study revealed some instances of upward mobility in Maine, including in the communities of Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford in relatively poor Piscataquis County.

The study overall found children who grow up in low-income households have a better chance at higher earnings after growing up in better-educated communities with higher household median wages. The study found that other factors like job growth rates didn’t impact economic mobility.

Children born in mill towns of Lincoln and Millinocket were more likely to end up in the top fifth of their peers for earnings than those born in most of Portland and Bangor. The towns have since been hit hard by the closure of mills.

Children who grew up in low-income households in Cumberland, Hancock, Piscataquis and York counties had a better shot at climbing into the top 20 percent than Maine children in general.

But in one section of Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, children from low-and middle-income families had less than a 9 percent chance at high earnings by their 30s.

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