Opportunities for upward mobility vary drastically across North Texas.
Children born in Dallas County in 1980 earned just $38,000, on average, at age 35 in 2015, placing them at the 28th percentile of household income nationally at that time. In Collin County, however, household incomes for 35 year olds in 2015 were in the 90th percentile at about $55,000 (Opportunity Atlas, 2021). In many of these communities, the same trend appears likely to continue: higher rates of upward mobility for those in more resourced communities and lower rates in other communities, often ones of color, that experience a cyclical churn of economic and social stress.
If this system continues, the social and economic fabric of North Texas is at risk. Burgeoning growth across the region has brought thousands of new residents to North Texas residents in the last decade, but income growth has been concentrated in communities that already provide better odds for upward mobility. Without strong programs that boost incomes for all residents in North Texas, including expanding access to educational opportunities, geography, race, and gender will continue to dictate the chances for upward mobility across the region.
Disrupting the cycle may be possible.
Thanks to cutting edge research from academics, we are beginning to quantify the impact that historic disinvestment, racism, and trauma have had on our communities. Fueled with this knowledge, local governments, nonprofits, and businesses are developing and testing strategies that are showing promising results.
We want to help
We want to help make that information available to as many people as we can - community leaders, policymakers, advocates, and entrepreneurs - so that they can tie that research into our current knowledge of North Texas as they create new solutions to foster upward economic mobility for everyone who calls North Texas home.
We want to foster upward economic mobility for everyone who calls North Texas home.
Putting the research to work
The NTX Social Mobility Hub will organize the best that helps us understand the conditions to advance, or hinder, upward mobility. First and foremost, this site will be organized to provide resources for anyone who wants to learn more about the drivers and history of socioeconomic mobility in the United States alongside some of the most recent data we have available for North Texas. We imagine that this site offers benefits to a variety of audiences:
- Principals and Teachers
- Elected Officials
- Local Policymakers
- Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations
- Community Leaders
- Business organizations
About The Center for Socioeconomic Mobility through Learning
UNT Dallas serves the higher education needs of Dallas while also helping to drive the local economy. In addition to being the most affordable four-year institution in North Texas, UNT Dallas is a minority-serving institution, with a student body that is 85 percent minority and more than 70 percent first-generation students. Even before the pandemic, there was an urgent need to up-skill and retrain workers in the UNT Dallas community. With the pandemic causing historic unemployment levels and disproportionately impacting minority communities, UNT Dallas has an even more critical role in up-skilling and retraining workers to meet the needs of the recovering local economy.
To help meet the critical need for the UNT Dallas community the university is launching the Center for Socioeconomic Mobility Through Education, which will:
- Launch workforce development programs and provide training, retraining, and up-skilling opportunities for under-resourced students and those hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19;
- Strengthen pathways from high school to community college to UNT Dallas to workforce programs utilizing existing partnerships to promote pathways out of poverty and into living wage jobs; and
- Produce actionable programs to accelerate measurable and improved outcomes for first-time college students, many of whom are coming to UNT Dallas to reset their careers and rebuild their lives.
The Center will work closely with industry partners to produce a highly-qualified, diverse UNT Dallas student cohort to enter high-need professions.