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Where you grow up might affect your chance of getting married by age 26
Where you grow up may have a bit of an effect on the chances that you'll be married by age 26, according to a New York Times analysis of data from Harvard economists who study upward mobility. - photo by Lois M. Collins
Where you live influences how you live, clear down to whether you are married by age 26, according to a New York Times Upshot analysis of data collected by a pair of Harvard economists who study upward mobility.

Kids growing up in Franklin County, Idaho, are a whopping 27 percent more likely to wed by that age than kids growing up in areas like San Bernadino County, California. And kids growing up in Washington, D.C., are more than 12 percent less likely to be married by then.

"The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado," wrote David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy for Upshot.

"The places that discourage marriage most tend to be cities, including San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans, as well as their surrounding areas. Nationwide, the jurisdiction with the single largest marriage-discouraging effect is Washington. But the New York area stands out even more. If we boiled down the list to only the countrys 50 largest counties, the top five in discouraging marriage would all be in the New York area," they wrote.

The researchers, Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, both economics experts, have looked at a variety of issues, from how where you live impacts many aspects of well-being. PBS Newshour reported on their findings that where a child grows up can have lifelong effect on earning power.

Hendren told interviewer Gwen Ifill that they found "places matter in proportion to the amount of time you spend growing up there. So, the longer you spend, every additional year a child spends growing up in a good place improves their outcomes. Moving younger is better, because your child would get more exposure to that good place. But its never too late to move to a good place to try to improve your childs outcomes in adulthood."

On their Equality of Opportunity Project page, they outline the project's scope: "The previous phase of the project presented statistics on how upward mobility varies across areas of the U.S. and over time. In the current phase, we focus on families who moved across areas to study how neighborhoods affect upward mobility. We find that every year of exposure to a better environment improves a childs chances of success, both in a national quasi-experimental study of five million families and in a re-analysis of the Moving to Opportunity Experiment. We use the new methodology and data to present estimates of the causal effect of each county in America on upward mobility."