Equality of Opportunity (Martin Luther King Jr Day post)

I am beginning a series on Equality of Opportunity, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day seems like the perfect time to begin.

Opportunity Insights was created by Raj Chetty at Harvard University. Chetty has been working with Joe Biden’s team on plans for rebuilding the economy to foster Equality of Opportunity, an endeavor that has been supported by universities and foundations throughout the country.

Equality of Opportunity means that everyone gets a fair shake, that they start from a fair starting line. We all believe that America should be the land of opportunity, but opportunity differs based on where you grew up and who you are, whether you are a boy or a girl, or black or white.

Chetty’s Opportunity Atlas shows your potential lifetime opportunity, based on where you grew up, your race, gender, and economic background. Data show that your lifetime opportunity is closely related to the first 22 years of your life. For example, if you grew up near McFarland in neighborhoods like Liberty Place, Twin Oaks or Secret Places, with lower income parents, you are likely to have good outcomes in your life and have above average income.

If you grew up north of the Beltline, in the Glendale, East Buckeye or Elvehjem neighborhoods, you are likely to have slightly below-average earning potential THROUGHOUT your life.

Why is that? I will discuss the key factors in my next post.