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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K422: Wealthy Friends May Be Ticket Out of Poverty
Over the last four decades, the financial circumstances into which children have been born have increasingly determined where they have ended up as adults. But an expansive new study, based on billions of social media connections, has uncovered a powerful exception to that pattern that helps explain why certain places offer a path out of poverty.
For poor children, living in an area where people have more friendships that cut across class lines significantly increases how much they earn in adulthood, the new research found.
The study, published in Nature, analyzed the Facebook friendships of 72 million people, amounting to 84% of U.S. adults ages 25 to 44.
The new analysis — the biggest of its kind — found the degree to which the rich and poor were connected explained why a neighborhood’s children did better later in life, more than any other factor.
The effect was profound. The study found that if poor children grew up in neighborhoods where 70% of their friends were wealthy — the typical rate for higher-income children — it would increase their future incomes by 20%, on average.
These cross-class friendships — what the researchers called economic connectedness — had a stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition. The people you know, the study suggests, open up opportunities, and the growing class divide in the United States closes them off.
“Growing up in a community connected across class lines improves kids’ outcomes and gives them a better shot at rising out of poverty,” said Raj Chetty, an economist at Harvard University and the director of Opportunity Insights, which studies the roots of inequality and the contributors to economic mobility. He was one of the study’s four principal authors.
Jimarielle Bowie grew up in a lower-middle-class family. Her parents divorced, lost jobs and lost homes. So when she made friends in high school with girls who lived on the rich side of town, their lifestyles intrigued her. Their houses were bigger; they ate different foods; and their parents — doctors, lawyers and pastors — had different goals and plans for their children, including applying for college.
Bowie became the first person in her family to get a postgraduate degree. She’s now a criminal defense lawyer — a job she found through a friend of one of those high school friends.
“My experience meeting people who were more affluent, I got to get in those circles, understand how those people think,” she said. “I absolutely think it made a significant difference.”
她說：「我跟較富有的人接觸的經歷，讓我進入那些圈子，了解他們的想法。我絕對認為這產生了重大影響。」Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6533747
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