ESCAPING THE WEALTH GAP CAN MEAN FLEEING HOMETOWNS

TAMMY WEBBER, Associated Press

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) – Young people from struggling towns across the U.S. are finding a way to thrive – by moving.

With manufacturing’s decline and a widening wealth gap, the key to the middle class for many now is higher education and a willingness to relocate for work.

Census data show that higher-educated the workers move most often and farthest. Those who stay or have less education can be caught in the downward pull of struggling areas.

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No comprehensive data contrast the fates of those who stay and those who leave, but there are partial glimpses.

A survey of 2012 Michigan public university graduates, for example, found that 63 percent still lived in the state a year later. But those who moved were far more likely to have full-time jobs and earned significantly more.

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