A new study illuminates factors that may support upward social mobility in rural America—the likelihood that children will grow up to achieve a higher standard of living than their parents. The “Social Mobility in Rural America” field report from National 4-H Council and The Bridgespan Group, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides ideas and guiding questions that other communities can build upon as they work to expand economic opportunity for young people.
Informed by data analysis of high-opportunity counties, and building upon existing studies in the field, including Bridgespan’s previous work on social mobility, Bridgespan and 4-H sought to discern how high-opportunity rural communities are helping their young people build a brighter future. With the help of National 4-H Council and the Cooperative Extension System of our nation’s land-grant universities, Bridgespan’s research team visited 19 communities across four Midwestern states, interviewing more than 200 public, private, and nonprofit community leaders, including over 100 middle- and high-school students.
“While there has been renewed interest in social mobility in rural communities, we do not consistently see investment in young people or their voices represented as a critical part of these conversations,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “In 4-H, we know that each community’s most powerful asset for growth and development is its young people. We sought to lift up this vital asset through this work with The Bridgespan Group.”
Learn more here: https://4-h.org/get-involved/