“Economic mobility” is the centerpiece of nearly every Charlotte-centered conversation these days. Wondering why? Here’s the report that started it all: “Where is the Land of Opportunity?: The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the U.S.”, by researchers at Harvard and UC-Berkeley. The 2013 report named Charlotte as dead last among the 50 largest cities in terms of the odds of a child born into poverty rising into the highest earning bracket as an adult.
Charlotte responded to the report’s grim conclusion by forming a task force to determine why the city ranked so low. Their findings, published in early 2017 as “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report”, identified three interrelated determinants of economic mobility – early care and education, college and career readiness, and child and family stability – along with two factors – the impact of segregation and social capital – that cut across all three determinants. The report includes 21 key strategies, 91 recommendations, and over 100 implementation tactics and policy considerations.
These two reports laid the groundwork for much of the economic and social justice work happening around the city today.