U.S. Census Bureau Research Maps the Roots of Social Mobility
Organizational Author(s): U.S. Census Bureau
The Bureau constructed the Opportunity Atlas, a comprehensive Census tract-level dataset of children’s outcomes in adulthood using data covering nearly the entire U.S. population.
For each tract, the Bureau estimated children’s outcomes in adulthood such as earnings distributions and incarceration rates by parental income, race, and gender. These estimates allow the Bureau to trace the roots of outcomes such as poverty and incarceration to the neighborhoods in which children grew up.
To build the Atlas, the Bureau used de-identified data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial Censuses linked to data from Federal income tax returns and the 2005-2015 American Community Surveys (ACS) to obtain information on income, parental characteristics, children's neighborhoods, and other variables. It focused on children born between 1978-1983, including those born in the U.S. and authorized childhood immigrants. The data include the characteristics of 20 million children, approximately 94% of all children born during the time period.