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Study: Maricopa County best in Arizona for children to rise up income ladder

While there has been much speculation that the location where a child grows up can lead to their financial success, there is now data that supports it, The New York Times reported.

According to a study conducted by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, Maricopa County is the place to be for Phoenix-area children looking to rise up the income ladder after growing up in poor households.

Children who spend at least 20 years in Maricopa County would make approximately $660 more by the age of 26 than if they grew up in an average place.

Ranking 1,188th out of 2,478 counties, Maricopa was rated better than about 48 percent of counties, but was ultimately better off for poor girls than poor boys.

In comparison, Gila County, one of the neighboring counties, ranked higher in only four categories: average boys, rich boys, richest boys and richest girls. Pinal County, another neighbor to Maricopa, ranked last in all areas.

The study also found that the earlier children moved to the area, the less likely they are to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn a bigger salary.

The lowest-ranked county in Arizona for income gain was Navajo County. The study found that children growing up in that area would make $3,320 less by the age of 26 than if they lived in an average county.

Some of the factors Chetty and Hendren found that contributed to the upward mobility are fewer segregation by income and race, lower levels of income inequality, better schools, lower rates of violent crime, and a larger amount of two-parent households.

Dupage, Illinois; Snohomish, Washington; Bergen, New Jersey; Bucks, Pennsylvania and Contra Costa, California rounded out the top five counties nationwide for income gain.