Reports & Toolkits

County Levers to Drive Economic Mobility: Local Solutions and Strategies

Error message

In order to filter by the "in queue" property, you need to add the Entityqueue: Queue relationship.
  • Document

    County Levers to Drive Economic Mobility: Local Solutions and Strategies

    Introduction: Counties advance economic mobility across seven key issue areas

    County governments play an instrumental role in building the economic resilience and vitality of communities and supporting the economic wellbeing of residents. Community characteristics such as quality housing supply and safe and navigable neighborhoods, services like public health programs, early childhood education and workforce development training for jobseekers, connectivity to the marketplace through technology and information, are all local factors that support the economic mobility of individuals and families. Counties and county leaders are uniquely positioned as changemakers through local authorities and duties to have a direct impact on each of these and more.

    Economic mobility is a highly local, connective and relational issue.

    In the United States, the concept of economic mobility centers around the ideal that each generation can do better than the last. Local conditions, community characteristics and even power and autonomy can affect opportunities for individuals’ long-term economic success; these aspects can be shaped by local policies.1 That is, economic mobility is a highly local, connective and relational issue.2 Because counties have power and authority to impact factors and conditions that influence long-term economic outcomes and boost upward mobility, county leaders can benefit from a comprehensive understanding of economic mobility and the intersections of related issues.

    This report focuses on the underlying elements of economic mobility and identifies how county leaders can use local power and authority to leverage county policy, planning and service delivery as levers to foster upward mobility for residents. This report includes a conceptual overview of economic mobility and a discussion of the roles, responsibilities and authorities of county governments. Also featured in this report are several case studies highlighting the various ways counties are using these levers to develop community-based approaches to promote successful economic outcomes for residents.

    The case studies in this report feature members of NACo’s Economic Mobility Leadership Network (EMLN), a cohort of county leaders that examines the range of complex issues that comprise economic mobility, including housing and food insecurity and an overall lack of opportunity.

    Drivers of Economic Mobility

    Click to Jump to Section

    Jump

    Housing

    Go to section

    Education & Workforce Development

    Go to section

    Health

    Go to section

    Community & Neighborhood Development

    Go to section

    Justice & Public Safety

    Go to section

    Technology & Information Access

    Go to section

    Financial Security

    Go to section

    Understanding economic mobility

    Defining economic mobility

    Economic mobility: At a glance

    Economic mobility refers to changes in people’s economic outcomes or status over a lifetime or across generations — usually measured in income. Simply put, economic mobility examines people’s movement up and down the economic ladder over a lifetime. However, economic mobility is a multi-faceted concept. In one regard, economic mobility can be understood as comparing an individual’s income as an adult relative to their parent’s or grandparent’s income (previous generations) — that is, inter-generational mobility. Alternatively, economic mobility can encompass looking at how groups of people, or generations move up and down the economic ladder over time, that is, it examines changes in an individual’s income over their life — also known as intra-generational mobility.

    Inter-and intra-generational mobility can be measured based on absolute or relative differences. Absolute mobility examines individuals' upward and downward changes in their income over time that is, absolute mobility evaluates actual financial progress. On the other hand, relative mobility examines how individuals rank in the income distribution (or ladder) over their lifetime and in comparison to their peers (other individuals within a generation) or their parents. For example, an application of this measure includes examining whether the share of individuals born in the bottom fifth (or quintile) of the income ladder remain at the bottom as adults or rank higher in the income distribution. Each of these concepts tells a different story about people's lifetime economic outcomes.

    Emerging research outlines the variety of factors (or drivers) that influence economic mobility, such as a parent’s level of income, social or peer connections, neighborhood quality, education, housing and financial security or institutions including family, tax systems and labor markets. While the relationships between economic mobility and these factors point out likeness among areas with similar rates of mobility and should not necessarily be understood as causal effects, the factors stand out as key elements in research and policy discussions.

    Simply put, economic mobility examines people’s movement up and down the economic ladder over a lifetime.

    Economic Opportunity In and Across the United States

    Economic Mobility: Key research findings

    1. In the United States, absolute mobility has fallen over time while relative mobility has remained constant.5 Over the past half century, absolute mobility fell sharply in the United States. The proportion of children earning more than their parents fell from nearly 90 percent for children born in 1940 to about 50 percent for those born in the 1980s. On the other hand, the gap between the average income percentiles for children born in lower-income versus higher-income families has remained relatively constant, emphasizing the influence of a parent’s income on their child’s income prospect.
    2. The United States is behind other advanced economies in terms of upward mobility.6 Though there are areas in the United States where relative mobility rates are higher than those in peer countries, the United States overall ranks lower than many other major industrialized economies when it comes to prospects of making it from a childhood in poverty to an adulthood in affluence. That is, children from poor families have a difficult time moving from the bottom to the top of the income ladder.

    3. Intergenerational mobility varies greatly within the United States.7 For example, at the regional level, children who grew up in the Southeast have lower relative mobility levels compared to children who grew up in the Mountain West and the rural Midwest.9 Similarly, children from families in Charlotte, N.C. at the bottom quintile of the income distribution (low-income families) are 4.4 percent likely to reach the top quintile, in contrast to a 12.9 percent likelihood for children from San Jose, Calif.10 The likelihood of a child moving from the bottom to the top of the income ladder is three times larger for those growing up in San Jose compared to those growing up in Charlotte. The presence of geographical differences in both relative mobility and absolute mobility suggests location shapes mobility.11 Equally important, the similarity in the patterns of geographical differences in both relative mobility and absolute mobility suggests that places with higher relative mobility levels also have better absolute economic outcomes for children from low-income families.12

    4. A child's neighborhood environment affects their economic future.13 A “good” neighborhood, in the context of upward mobility, is one that produces better outcomes for children. Neighborhoods impact children’s long-term outcomes through childhood exposure effects – that is, for every additional year a child spends growing up in an area with high-upward-mobility (or an area where the permanent resident income is high), the child’s income in adulthood increases accordingly.14 Additionally, if children move to a better neighborhood earlier in their childhood, the effects on their income as adults are larger.

    5. Racial and ethnic disparities are evident when examining differences in economic mobility rates across generations.15 Despite increased opportunities for communities of color in the United States, there are large and persistent gaps in socioeconomic outcomes (i.e., opportunity, education, income and wealth) across racial and ethnic groups, especially between Black and white communities.16 Black and Indigenous children are less likely to move up the economic ladder and downward mobility – moving down from a position of economic advantage – is much higher among them than other groups.17 Black children from a high-income family are almost as likely to fall to the bottom income group as they are to remain in the top income group.18

    County Authority and Levers in Economic Mobility

    Overview: County Role, Authority and Levers in Economic Mobility

    Counties provide essential services to over 300 million residents in communities across the nation while balancing numerous administrative responsibilities. Counties are responsible for operating and maintaining transportation and infrastructure systems, operating local health systems, providing emergency response, coordinating elections and providing core social assistance services from early childhood development to elder care. Counties also coordinate and facilitate a wide range of economic and community development programs, from business incentives and retention to workforce development and community revitalization. Furthermore, counties execute such programs in partnership with nonprofits, the private sector and other interested government entities.

    Counties derive authority from the state, which includes the power to create budgets, levy taxes, issue bonds, create public corporations to fund county programs, provide services and perform numerous other tasks related to the operation of the county government. Within the authority granted by the state, most counties can enact policies (e.g., passing ordinances or resolutions), enact or administer programs and enter partnerships or interlocal agreements with nonprofits or other counties and municipalities.

    There are two basic types of governing authority for counties: Dillon’s Rule and Home Rule.19 Under Dillon’s Rule, counties only have powers granted to them by the state and can only take actions expressly implied in state legislation including changes to the government structure, function, fiscal organization or passing any law or ordinance not specifically permitted under existing state legislation. On the other hand, under Home Rule, states grant counties or municipalities, through their constitutions or statutes, authority that includes local autonomy or self-determination.20 Thus, Home Rule counties have greater control over local affairs than Dillon’s Rule counties and often govern based on the preferences of residents. Such counties can pass laws to govern themselves as necessary and have more flexibility in altering government structure (such as increasing the size of their legislative body), providing additional services, creating special districts, entering interlocal agreements and adjusting revenues and expenditures.

    In the context of economic mobility, levers are tools which county governments can wield to help residents move up the economic ladder. They include broad categories of policy and decision-making powers, enacting or administering programs and forming partnerships. The power to enact change is tied to the county’s authority to perform duties in the structural, functional and fiscal domains of operations. When it comes to economic mobility, county levers can include allocating dollars to fund critical human services programs, policy resolutions or ordinances to meet the needs of underserved communities and populations and forming impactful partnerships to better serve the needs of local communities. Counties can leverage these tools within their authority to help millions of residents move up the economic ladder.

    Local leaders operate within varying degrees of authority to enact mobility solutions.

    Housing: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    Housing is the backbone of economic development for communities. Without safe and affordable housing, businesses are less likely to attract workers, hindering the economic well-being of the community. Children who have access to stable and affordable housing have a healthy cognitive development, and families gain access to improved educational opportunities, well-paying jobs, workforce training and resources to improve their financial well-being.21 Counties play a critical role in meeting this crucial need for residents and businesses alike, investing nearly $13 billion annually in housing and community development.22 Counties impact housing supply through community planning, land use, zoning and other regulations. Additionally, counties invest in housing support services for individuals with disabilities, low-income populations, veterans and those experiencing homelessness.

    Children who have access to stable and affordable housing have a healthy cognitive development, and families gain access to improved educational opportunities, well-paying jobs, workforce training and resources to improve their financial well-being.

    Many residents struggle with housing challenges, spending large portions of their monthly income on housing. In 2019, cost-burdened residents, those that spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing alone, comprised nearly half (46 percent) of renters and over one fifth (21 percent) of homeowners.23 This affordable housing issue inhibits a resident’s ability to accumulate wealth (a key driver that enables families to change their economic status). Low-income residents, as well as Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaskan Native households, disproportionately face these housing affordability challenges.24 Furthermore, households of color form a disproportionately large percentage of renters, further illustrating the challenge counties face in ensuring equitable access to affordable housing for all residents.25

    Depending on state statute, a county may have different tools available to support housing. Some counties can raise taxes and fees to invest funds into housing, either directly or through a housing trust fund. For counties unable to allocate funding to housing due to either state law or a strict budget, many levers exist in the realm of planning and zoning. More specifically, counties with this authority can include a housing element in their comprehensive plans, conduct housing needs analyses or require affordable housing impact statements from developers. Many counties can also leverage zoning regulations to make housing more affordable, such as reducing lot size requirements or designating areas for medium-density housing or provide incentives – such as density bonuses – for developers to build more affordable units. Other counties may have authority over the permitting and review processes, such as to streamline them or to reduce fees. Finally, counties may have the ability to partner with other local jurisdictions (see Waukesha County, Wis. case study), community organizations or businesses to pool resources, garner residents support and develop regional strategies for addressing housing affordability (see Palm Beach County, Fla. case study).

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Housing:

    Workforce Housing Program in Palm Beach County, Fla.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 1.5M
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 717k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $75.6B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $63.3k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
    • Sources: See endnote 26.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • Cross-county department partnership
    • Support and encourage the development of affordable housing units for eligible households
    • County match for the statewide Low Income Housing Tax Credits program
    Community Impacts
    • More than 90 residential development housing projects as of 2021
    • Within the housing projects, 13 percent of total units are reserved for eligible households
    • Residents of color comprise the largest share of WHP beneficiaries — that is, 47 percent are Black, and 35 percent are Hispanic
    Overview

    ​In October 2019, Palm Beach County, the third-largest county in Florida, launched the Securing Our Future Initiative. This collaborative effort aims to reduce poverty in Palm Beach County and create pathways to economic mobility for families with children living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The county also created an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that all county programs, including the Securing Our Future Initiative, are equitable.27 The initiative highlights housing as one of the eight domains most pertinent to economic mobility, particularly as the county faces significant housing challenges like many other coastal counties. In 2017, 32 percent of Palm Beach County homeowners and 60 percent of renters were cost-burdened, both rates well above the national averages.28

    Palm Beach County adopted a Home Rule charter and therefore has relatively high autonomy over local affairs. The county can deploy a broad range of housing policy tools to promote economic mobility under Florida State law. These tools include: (1) making ordinances and directing expenditures to increase affordable housing within the county, (2) issuing bonds to fund affordable housing development, and (3) instituting interlocal agreements with other counties, cities, the state and federal government.29 In 2004, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 2004-027 to create the county’s Workforce Housing Program (WHP) in the countywide Comprehensive Plan. This program is a partnership between the county's Department of Planning, Zoning and Building and the Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability and is mandatory for all developments in the county's unincorporated areas through land development codes. The program requires developments to designate a percentage of their residential units to the needs of households whose income falls between 60 and 140 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).

    Outcomes

    As of 2021, more than 90 housing projects in Palm Beach County are subject to the WHP. Also, the program requires more than 2,400 WHP units (13 percent of total units), half of which are either built or under development. The greatest beneficiaries of the WHP are racial and ethnic minorities; among all the workforce unit occupants, 47 percent are Black, and 35 percent are Hispanic. Additionally, the program received $9.1 million in-lieu fees from developers who opted to a buyout of the mandatory workforce unit requirements. Some of this revenue provides down payment assistance for WHP unit purchasers.

    In addition to the WHP, Palm Beach County also provides local match for the statewide Low Income Housing Tax Credits program targeting multifamily developers. Additionally, the Palm Beach County Housing Finance Authority – a dependent special district of Palm Beach County created pursuant to state statutes – offers through lending institutions second mortgage loans and non-repayable assistance grants for qualified home purchases and issues loans and tax-exempt bonds for the development or acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing units. Through these policies and programs, Palm Beach County provides a great example of leveraging granted powers to foster upward mobility by providing stable and affordable homes for residents. Specifically, residents can accumulate savings over lowered housing costs and connect to quality education and employment opportunities, allowing them to climb the income ladder.

    For more information, see:

    • Palm Beach County Securing Our Future Initiative
    • Palm Beach County Housing Finance Authority
    • Palm Beach County Department of Planning, Zoning and Building
    • Palm Beach County Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability

    The HOME Consortium in Waukesha County, Wis.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 406.2k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 220.5k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $28B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $87.3k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Professional & Business Services; Wholesale Trade
    • Sources: See endnote 30.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • Multi-county housing consortium
    • Expand homeownership opportunities and maintain current housing stock
    • Consortium programs include down payment assistance for homebuyers and low-interest housing rehabilitation loans
    • Consortium leverages federal funding to tackle regional housing affordability issues
    Community Impacts
    • Provided down payment assistance to over 55 families buying their first home
    • As of 2017, 25 families participated in the Housing Rehabilitation program and 16 families participated in the Purchase Rehabilitation program
    Overview

    Wisconsin counties have administrative Home Rule authority, which provides some flexibility. However, state legislation limits these county powers to administrative and organizational functions. Under state law, Wisconsin counties can form partnerships with the state, other counties, and municipalities for various projects, including acquisition, development, remodeling, construction, operation and maintenance of land, buildings, and facilities, among other things. Waukesha County, Wis. leveraged these granted powers to partner with neighboring counties to tackle housing affordability issues in the region. In 1998, Waukesha County, serving as the lead entity, joined together with neighboring counties Jefferson and Washington to establish the HOME Consortium (later joined by Ozaukee County). In this case study, Consortium refers to the HOME Consortium. Empowered by a formal resolution adopted by nearly all the municipalities within the participating counties, a 12-member board of directors comprising elected representatives from all four counties governs the Consortium.

    The Consortium's principal goals include advancing homeownership opportunities and maintaining the quality of existing housing stock. In pursuit of these goals, the Consortium operates three core programs that provide support to eligible families. They include a homeownership assistance program, a homeowner purchase or rehab program and a home rehabilitation assistance program. Under these programs, the Consortium offers down payment assistance for homebuyers and low-interest housing rehabilitation loans to residents that earn 80 percent or less of the area's median household income.

    Outcomes

    The Consortium funds programs with an annual federal allocation of about $1,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to address affordable housing issues.31 The housing development fund, another program created by the Consortium, is a fund that assists with the construction of affordable housing in the four counties. HUD requires each participating jurisdiction in the Consortium to set aside at least 15 percent of its funding for Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). CHDOs are entities through which jurisdictions can provide decent, affordable housing to low-income households in a specific area or community, but not the entire state.

    The Consortium’s programs have supported many families. In 2017, 55 families received down payment assistance for their first home; 25 families participated in the Housing Rehabilitation program; and 16 families participated in the Purchase Rehabilitation program.32 The Consortium is an example of how counties can use partnership-forming powers to foster upward mobility within communities.

    For more information, make sure to check out:

    • The HOME Consortium

    Moderate Income Housing Unit Program in Howard County, Md.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 328.2k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 184.5k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.2%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $25B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $121.2k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Wholesale Trade
    • Sources: See endnote 33.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • Addresses affordable housing issues, especially among moderate to low-income residents
    • Program requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to rent a portion of the units to eligible households
    • Under the program, households do not spend more than 33 percent of their income on housing-related costs
    Community Impacts
    • Steady growth in rental inventory, 600 units as of Fiscal Year 2019
    • Expanded on local affordable housing incentive strategies by launching a down payment loan program to support homebuyers in the community
    Overview

    Howard County is a medium-sized county located in central Maryland.34 The county is one of the state’s geographically smallest – occupying approximately 250 square miles – and one of the nation’s wealthiest – with a median household income of nearly $118,000.35 Like many other counties across the nation, Howard County is facing housing affordability challenges. Nearly half of renters in the county (45 percent) are cost-burdened, six percentage points below the national average of 51 percent.36

    The county launched its Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Rental and Ownership programs to address affordable housing issues, especially among moderate to low-income residents, such as teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, hospital workers and service workers.37 The MIHU Rental Program requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to rent a portion of the dwelling units (typically 10 to 20 percent) to moderate-income households. The purpose of this affordability program is to balance the cost of living in a rental unit against the household's annual income. The intent is that a household should not spend more than 33 percent of its income on expenses related to the rental unit. First adopted in 1996, the MIHU Rental program has steadily grown its rental inventory to 600 units as of Fiscal Year 2019.

    Outcomes

    In addition to the renter program, the county also implemented the Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Ownership Program and the related Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP) as two initiatives to help address the growing affordability needs for homebuyers in the community. The MIHU Ownership program requires developers of new housing in targeted zoning areas to sell a portion of their units to moderate-income households at a reduced price based on county code. Nearly half of the homebuyers in the MIHU Ownership program also need settlement down payment assistance. As a result, the SDLP program has become a vital component to the success of the MIHU program. Developers seeking alternative compliance to the MIHU program can request to pay a fee-in-lieu for each unit in a development project in certain situations and specific zones. The revenue collected from the fee-in-lieu funds the SDLP loans. As of Fiscal Year 2019, the MIHU Ownership program placed 287 moderate income families in homes.38

    Local governments in Maryland have strong planning and zoning authorities. The state establishes comprehensive plans, but the counties manage specifics such as reviewing, updating and adopting the plan in whole or in part. Howard County adopted its Home Rule charter in 1968, which includes the authority to control zoning. The Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development administers all housing initiatives in the county, including the MIHU Programs. The department uses funds from a portion of the county's overall transfer tax (12.5 percent) and all fee-in-lieu revenue to create, rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing in Howard County.39

    For more information, make sure to check out:

    • Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Program
    • Howard County Housing Publications

    Education & Workforce Development: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    Education

    Education is a key element to success as it helps break the cycle of poverty and inequality and fosters mobility in current and future generations. In the United States, the structure of the education system can be viewed as having three levels of formal education, that is, elementary (including prekindergarten and kindergarten), secondary and postsecondary. Each of these levels of education contributes to ensuring that individuals have the chance to move up the economic ladder across generations. Though the role of counties in education varies by state, education is the third largest source of expenditures for counties nationwide. In 2017, counties invested $103 billion in education, which includes the construction and maintenance of public-school buildings and support of higher education institutions, such as community colleges.40

    Education helps break the cycle of poverty and inequality, fostering mobility in current and future generations.

    Access to a high-quality education is a key determinant of child-related outcomes.41 People with access to quality and higher levels of education are more likely to be healthier and live longer.42 Furthermore, individuals with post-secondary education credentials have access to increased employment opportunities and are likely to earn higher wages and experience better health outcomes than those without post-secondary education training.43 In addition, investing in early childhood education reduces the need for more expensive interventions later and produces higher returns.44 County programs and investments expand young children’s access to high-quality services and support which promote healthy development of the cognitive and socioemotional capabilities that are crucial to generating economic success as adults. Such programs include early care and education, home visiting, perinatal services, parenting classes and centralized intake and referral systems. For example, Tarrant County, Texas offers a comprehensive developmental screening program for infants and toddlers through a public-private partnership to increase the early detection of developmental delays in children (see Tarrant County, Texas case study).

    In some cases, counties support early childhood efforts through administering federal childcare programs, though they are primarily regulated at the state level.45 In at least eight states, county governments are responsible for administering the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).46 Counties also play a significant role in licensing childcare providers, offering childcare assistance to low-income residents, referring families to childcare resources and providing local funding to help build the supply of childcare.47 For example, Franklin County, Ohio administers the state’s publicly funded childcare program (supported by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF). Franklin County also funds free training for childcare providers in the county.

    County programs and investments expand young children’s access to high-quality services and support which promote healthy development of the cognitive and socioemotional capabilities that are crucial to generating economic success as adults.

    In the context of K-12 public education, counties in some states fund the public education system. In most instances, a separate elected board of education in each county works with the state’s department of education to operate, administer and manage the public education system. County leaders also play a role in post-secondary education, including making direct allocation of local funds, participating in decision-making boards and bodies and coordinating various local, state and federal resources to improve educational outcomes for residents.48

    Workforce Development

    Counties either directly provide, through county-based human services agencies, or partner with post-secondary education institutions and community-based organizations to provide workforce development and employment services such as vocational and on-the-job training services that boost the skills of residents.

    Workforce development is another key driver of upward economic mobility. Workforce development increases human capital – knowledge and skills – of individuals that help prepare them for better employment opportunities. Such interventions are critical for improving intragenerational mobility particularly for workers in low-wage occupations and those displaced from the labor market due to skills mismatch or lack of access to jobs that do not require a college degree.49 Counties either directly provide, through county-based human services agencies, or partner with post-secondary education institutions and community-based organizations to provide workforce development and employment services such as vocational and on-the-job training services that boost the skills of residents. For example, the career office of Coconino County, Ariz. is implementing several initiatives to create a youth talent pipeline, engage key partners in their workforce system and develop employment and educational training programs (see Coconino County, Ariz. case study). These strategies, coupled with contributions to education, can enhance post-secondary enrollment and graduation rates and expand opportunities for stable, high-quality jobs.

    In other cases, counties act as key conveners of stakeholders, partnering with private sector organizations, nonprofits and municipal, state and the federal government to offer workforce development programs and services.

    In other cases, counties act as key conveners of stakeholders, partnering with private sector organizations, nonprofits and municipal, state and the federal government to offer workforce development programs and services. Franklin County, Ohio works with the Columbus Urban League, a local civil rights nonprofit, and a regional construction trades council to recruit low-income, TANF eligible residents – particularly men of color – to participate in a 12-week pre-apprenticeship program in construction trades. This program offers soft and hard skills training and places participants in different local apprenticeships upon program completion (see Franklin County, Ohio case study).

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Education and Workforce Development:

    Infant Toddler Developmental Screening Initiative (ITDSI) in Tarrant County, Texas

    • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 2.1M
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 1.1M
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.3%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $106.8B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $67.7k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Professional & Business services
    • Sources: See endnote 50.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • Community partnership
    • Supports early childhood developmental screenings
    • Coordinates a referral system
    Community Impacts
    • Over 83,000 infants and toddlers served across the county
    • Sets children on a path for school readiness and long-term economic self-sufficiency
    Overview

    Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Tarrant County is the third largest county in Texas, with over 2.1 million residents.51 The county has a civilian labor force of just over 1 million workers and its unemployment rate stood at 3.3 percent before the pandemic.52 The Tarrant County median household income is higher than the national median.53 However, more than 109,000 children live in high poverty areas – that is, areas with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more – within the county.54 The county’s 13.9 percent child poverty rate is slightly lower than the national rate.55

    Counties play a role in shaping the well-being and the path of economic success of the youngest residents by administering comprehensive early childhood systems and maintaining high-quality learning environments that stimulate growth and development.

    Early childhood is a critical phase in one’s lifetime as early childhood experiences establish the foundation for an individual’s success, self-sufficiency and well-being later in life. This phase is fundamental to a child’s developmental well-being due to the potential for growth, and vulnerability to risk factors that can harm a child’s physical health, cognition and social-emotional skills.56 These risk factors can be biological (e.g., premature birth, low birthweight) or related to the one’s socio-economic environment (e.g., poverty, housing instability, family structure or relationship with caregivers).57

    The county recognized a need for a coordinated system to support healthy development and strengthen the school readiness of the 83,000 infants and toddlers within its community.

    Outcomes

    Counties play a role in shaping the well-being and the path of economic success of the youngest residents by administering comprehensive early childhood systems and maintaining high-quality learning environments that stimulate growth and development. Early childhood interventions such as developmental screenings – which allow for the identification of possible health or developmental problems in infants and young children – are an important tool to guarantee children are on target for a healthy development ensuring their success later in life. An example of a county developmental screening program is the Infant Toddler Developmental Screening Initiative (ITDSI) developed by Tarrant County. The county recognized a need for a coordinated system to support healthy development and strengthen the school readiness of the 83,000 infants and toddlers within its community. Tarrant County partnered with the Early Learning Alliance and the Infant Health Network to form the ITDSI. The initiative's goal is to implement a robust developmental screening and referral system that will increase the early detection of developmental delays. The information gathered from the new system enables the county to provide children with the necessary resources and support to improve their education and promote positive long-term economic outcomes. Tarrant County’s Public Health Department supports this initiative by ensuring collaboration between all stakeholders involved and connecting the community’s public health system to early childhood education programs and services.

    Early childhood development or intervention programs promote the development of capacities during childhood that are the foundation for school readiness and economic self-sufficiency. These factors correlate with positive education outcomes that translate to higher incomes and success later in life; initiatives such as Tarrant County’s system are an example of how counties can enact programs to improve economic mobility for younger generations within the community.58

    For more information, be sure to check out:

    • Case Study: Building a Diverse Early Childhood Coalition to Expand Data-Driven Developmental Screening Services: Tarrant County, Texas
    • Also see here

    Building Futures Program in Franklin County, Ohio

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 1.3M
    • Labor Force (2020): 705.1k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.4%
    • Median Household Income (2019): $61.3k
    • Poverty Rate (2019): 13.5%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $87.8B
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Government & Government Enterprises; Finance & Insurance
    • Sources: See endnote 59.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • County partnership with stakeholders from Central Ohio to create the Rise Together initiative
    • The initiative aims to reduce poverty and outlines several action steps, one of which is the Building Futures project
    • The Building Futures is funded both through federal and county funding
    Community Impacts
    • More than 100 participants trained through the Building Futures program since 2017
    • Eighty-eight percent of program participants obtained employment with wages ranging from $15 to $26 per hour, plus full benefits
    Overview

    For decades, Franklin County, Ohio, the most populous county in the state, has been battling concentrated and persistent poverty. Between 1980 and 2016, 60 percent of census tracts in Franklin County experienced an increase in poverty.60 Additionally, 30 percent of all children live in areas with poverty rates of 20 percent or more.61 The county also suffers from high levels of wealth segregation. The Columbus metro area is one of the most economically segregated regions in the country.62

    To mitigate local poverty and improve economic mobility, Franklin County commissioners focused on strengthening local partnerships. The state grants Ohio counties the authority to enter into agreements with other public and private entities and to appropriate funds to nonprofits engaged in promoting economic development.63 In late 2018, the county convened local partners across Central Ohio, leading to the Rise Together blueprint. The blueprint is an organizing framework with 13 goals to reduce poverty in Franklin County and corresponding immediate, short-term and long-term action steps.64 One example of a program outlined in the blueprint is Building Futures, a pre-apprenticeship program that provides low-income Franklin County residents with training in skilled construction trades. The program brings together Franklin County, the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and the Columbus Urban League. The Building Futures program is funded both through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and by the county general fund. The latter provides wrap-around supportive services that help ensure participants complete the program.

    Outcomes

    Since Building Futures' inception in 2017, the program has trained more than 100 participants, of which nearly 90 percent are Black. Eighty-five (85) percent of participants graduated, and 88 percent quickly secured employment with starting wages ranging from $15 to $26 per hour plus full benefits.65 Other education and workforce training programs enacted or supported by Franklin County to foster resiliency and upward mobility include Achieve More and Prosper and Columbus Work.

    Poverty and economic segregation negatively impact upward mobility. Residents who live in concentrated poverty areas are isolated from resources and networks needed to thrive and achieve successful economic outcomes. Workforce training programs such as Building Futures are one of many ways counties can generate better economic outcomes for residents.

    For more information, see:

    • Rise Together Blueprint
    • Building Futures
    • Achieve More and Prosper
    • Columbus Work

    Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence in Coconino County, Ariz.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 142.5k
    • Labor Force Size (2020): 75.3k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.7%
    • Median Household Income (2019): $ 59.5k
    • County Economic Output (2019): $6.8B
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Manufacturing
    • Sources: See endnote 66.
    • Learn More
    Key Program Tenets
    • Partnership between county local workforce board and community partners to create workforce development program
    • Identifies sector-based workforce needs
    • Develops training programs for the workforce with a focus on the youth
    • Supports entrepreneurs and sector-based education
    Community Impacts
    • More than 400 individuals trained thus far
    • County is leveraging the success of this program as a framework for how to create more programs through community partnerships
    Overview

    Located in northern Arizona, Coconino County is the largest county by geographical size in the state. About half of its population resides in the county seat, Flagstaff, with the remaining dispersed around smaller cities, making the county largely rural.67 The county also includes the Havasupai Nation and large parts of the Navajo Nation, Hualapai Nation and Hopi Nation. Indigenous communities make up nearly 30 percent of the county's total population. With six national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, the county is a regional and international tourism hub. Nearly 50 percent of the land within the county boundaries is public land (either owned by the federal government or by the state). The local economy is primarily tourism-based, with tourism and hospitality sectors accounting for over 20 percent of the county workforce opportunities.68

    Outcomes

    In the multi-year Coconino County Workforce Business Plan, the county examined existing industries in the local economy and identified manufacturing as a key industry for growth. In 2018, the sector accounted for 9.5 percent of the county's economic output69 and employed 8 percent of the county’s workforce.70 The county’s local workforce board decided to target the manufacturing sector to train job seekers and develop partnerships with stakeholders and employers, resulting in the Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence program. Funded by a special grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the county supports the advanced manufacturing sector through this program while emphasizing innovation in bioscience and in green and sustainable practices. Coconino County is collaborating with community partners and employers within the sector to: (1) identify sector-based workforce needs, (2) develop training programs for the emerging workforce (i.e., workshops and internships geared to youth) and (3) support entrepreneurialism and promote education in this sector. Among other accomplishments, 436 individuals received training through this economic and workforce development program, with 57 degrees, credentials and certificates awarded. Additionally, the county has developed relationships with over ten community partners and 25 Advanced Manufacturing companies.71

    Coconino County is leveraging its authority to enact programs and build partnerships to (1) develop a youth talent pipeline matched to the local industry's current and future needs, (2) meet ambitious workforce development goals and (3) foster business retention and growth.

    For more information, make sure to check out:

    • Coconino County, Ariz. Youth Programs
    • Coconino County, Ariz. Young Adults Programs
    • Coconino County, Ariz. Adult Programs
    • Coconino County, Ariz. Manufacturing Sector Innovations

    Health: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    From running local health departments, providing behavioral and mental health services to developing community health care programs, counties play a direct role in the health and well-being of residents (see Fulton County, Ga. case study). In total, counties invest over $100 billion in community health and hospitals annually.72

    Additionally, for children, poor nutrition negatively affects their developmental outcomes, leading to long-lasting impacts on their future economic status.

    Discussions of health tend to focus on physical and psychological well-being. Still, health also plays a key role in individuals’ economic outcomes. Studies show that good health, including nutritional diets, access to health insurance and quality healthcare in childhood, can impact an individual’s socioeconomic outcomes in several ways.73 A non-nutritional diet can contribute to serious health conditions, preventing residents from earning a stable income.74 Poor nutrition also negatively affects educational outcomes such as school readiness and performance.75 Additionally, for children, poor nutrition negatively affects their developmental outcomes, leading to long-lasting impacts on their future economic status.76

    Good health habits, and access to affordable and quality healthcare are linked to positive socioeconomic outcomes.

    Health can also impact one’s economic outcomes through healthcare costs. Thus, health insurance is essential to economic mobility for several reasons (see Pinellas County case study). Those with health insurance are more likely to access medical care to help maintain good physical and mental health and thereby increase economic mobility.77 Hospitals can charge the uninsured more than those with health coverage, leading to medical debt as uninsured individuals pay out of pocket for most of their care.78 Consequently, residents are pushed further down the economic mobility ladder.79

    The levers counties can leverage to improve health outcomes in communities and subsequently impact economic mobility vary among jurisdictions. For example, in Georgia, counties partially fund the local public health department and appoint individuals to community health boards. Similarly, each county in Maryland jointly oversees the local public health department. Though in Maryland, these entities are primarily the local arm of the state health department such that the health officer is a joint employee of the county and the state. On the other hand, in the public health arena, Oregon counties serve as the local public health authority and operate without much preemption by state statutes, despite having limited resources.

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Health:

    All People Are Healthy Initiative in Fulton County, Ga.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 1.1M
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 557.2k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.0%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $159.9B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $69.7k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Information; Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 80.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Community-focused strategic plan and performance management system
    • Assesses the county’s performance in six priority areas including health
    • The “All People are Healthy program,” under the healthy priority area, focuses on improving community health
    Community Impacts
    • Streamlined behavioral health care service delivery model
    • The percentage of clients scheduled to see a licensed professional within two business days increased from 59 percent to 95 percent
    Overview

    With the support of the Board of Commissioners, the County Executive and various county departments and agencies, Fulton County, Ga. developed a community-focused strategic plan and a performance management system to promote government transparency and assess the county’s performance in six priority areas: health, safety, self-sufficiency, economic opportunity, government trust and cultural enrichment. "All People Are Healthy" is an initiative that supports the health priority area and focuses on improving community health through three key factors: (1) the adoption of healthy behaviors by county residents, (2) the availability and quality of the health care services that residents receive and (3) the physical environment in which residents live, work and play.

    Outcomes

    Like many counties across the nation, Fulton County plays an important role in community health. Health services within Fulton County are provided independently by several agencies within and outside the authority of the county government. For instance, behavioral health services are provided or coordinated through Fulton County Behavioral Health, Grady Memorial Hospital, Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, Fulton County Courts (through specialty courts) and the Public Defender. As part of the All People Are Healthy initiative, in 2018, the county sought to improve the quality of the behavioral health care services residents receive by streamlining the service delivery model. Under the new model, the county increased the percentage of clients scheduled to see a licensed professional within two business days from 59 percent to 95 percent.

    Good physical, emotional and mental health outcomes, alongside quality health services, are key to successful economic outcomes for children and adults.

    Good physical, emotional and mental health outcomes, alongside quality health services, are key to successful economic outcomes for children and adults.81 Healthy childhood development supports positive health outcomes later in life. In contrast, poor childhood health can negatively impact educational attainment and adult health.82 For adults, poor health can lead to employment disruptions or limit participation in the labor force and consequently wages, creating a feedback loop.83 County-driven efforts, such as the "All People Are Healthy" initiative, meet the health needs of residents, allowing them to achieve good health outcomes and upward mobility.

    For more information, make sure to check out:

    • All People are Healthy
    • Department Dashboards: All People are Healthy

    Pinellas County Health Program in Pinellas County, Fla.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 976.8k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 484.3k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.0%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $47.9B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $54.1k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Professional & Business Services; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
    • Sources: See endnote 84.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Provides prevention-focused health care to eligible county residents
    • Collaboration and partnership between county, state and local stakeholders
    Community Impacts
    • Serves adult county residents who are uninsured, ineligible for public assistance programs and earn less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level
    • Offers primary medical care at no charge to the homeless population
    Overview

    Pinellas County is a large county on the west coast of Florida in the Tampa Bay area.85 With more than 3,500 people per square mile, the county had the state’s densest population in 2019.86 In 2018, 85 percent of Pinellas County residents under age 65 had health insurance, putting the county among the more medically insured counties in the state.87 Notwithstanding this high rate of coverage, county leaders want to ensure all residents have access to the health care they need.

    Lacking health insurance is a significant barrier to upward economic mobility. For low- and even middle-income families, insufficient insurance coverage means a simple doctor’s visit could pose considerable financial challenges.88 To help otherwise uninsured residents access health care, in 2008, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners established the Pinellas County Health Program. The program provides prevention-focused health care to eligible county residents through a partnership between the Pinellas County Human Services, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and the Turley Family Health Center (a local medical group practice).89 Eligible county residents include those that are: uninsured, between the ages of 18 and 64, earn incomes less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and do not qualify for any public assistance program, such as Medicaid and Medicare.90

    Outcomes

    Pinellas County’s Home Rule Charter, adopted in 1980,91 empowers the county to develop and operate public health and welfare services or facilities within Pinellas County. Like other Florida counties, Pinellas County can enter and execute any lawful contracts within its granted authority. The county can also collaborate with the state department of health to establish a health department that provides primary care, communicable disease services and environmental health services.92 This authority enabled the multiparty partnership that formed the Pinellas County Health Program. Additionally, this authority enabled the county to deliver routine medical care services through Medical Homes – which the county Department of Health provides.93 The Pinellas County Health Program is funded by the county’s general fund.

    The county provides similar services for its homeless population. Under the Pinellas County Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Program, the county offers primary medical care at no charge through a fixed location and a mobile medical unit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCH received more than $800,000 in federal COVID relief funds, including some $626,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for supporting the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.94

    For more information, see:

    • Pinellas County Health Program
    • Pinellas County Human Services
    • Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County

    Community & Neighborhood Development: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    Across the nation, counties are actively working to make communities better places to live and work. Various aspects of an individual’s life, including education and access to employment opportunities are centered around geography (or place). Since the county is in many areas the closest government to the people, county leaders know the needs of local communities best and where to allocate resources most efficiently. Each year, counties spend over $20 billion on public amenities, including libraries, parks and natural resources.95 County governments also invest nearly $13 billion annually on housing and community development and over $23 billion on transit options for residents.96 Additionally, counties are well-positioned to convene business and community leaders, often forming task forces and other groups to stimulate economic activity and tackle key economic issues (see Erie County, Pa. case study).

    It is important to recognize the intersection between geography and an individual’s economic outcomes because: (1) economic mobility is unevenly distributed across the nation and (2) neighborhood characteristics impact key mechanisms that influence an individual’s economic outcomes.

    There is substantial geographic variation in economic mobility levels across the nation. At the regional level, many northeastern states have much higher economic mobility levels than many southern states.97 Economic mobility can even vary within regions, such as commuting zones.98 For instance, children from low-income families in Charlotte, N.C. are only 4.4 percent likely to reach the top fifth of the income distribution, contrasted to a 12.9 percent likelihood for children from San Jose, Calif.99

    Children's long-term health, well-being and future economic outcomes are impacted by the neighborhood they grow up in.

    Neighborhood or community features impact an individual’s economic trajectory.100 Children's long-term health, well-being and future economic outcomes are impacted by the neighborhood they grow up in. Families and children experience significant outcome improvements as they move to high-upward mobility neighborhoods.101 For instance, children from low-income families that move to low-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults.102 In addition, a neighborhood will have a better impact on the children and families living there if it has lower rates of segregation and inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better education (or high quality schools) and more two-parent households.103 This is evidence in the fact that poor intergenerational mobility for Black Americans is driven in part by generations of racial inequality and historical patterns of racial segregation.104

    A neighborhood will have a better impact on the children and families living there if it has lower rates of segregation and inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better education (or high quality schools) and more two-parent households.

    Counties are working to foster mobility by addressing gaps other neighborhood characteristics such as public parks, recreation facilities and reliable and efficient transit options (see Mercer County, W.Va. case study). Efficient transportation provides access to community resources and amenities that allow individuals or families to improve their economic outcomes (see Hennepin County, Minn. case study). Additionally, high-performing transportation networks dictate accessibility to housing, employment, education and healthcare – all of which influence economic mobility105 (see Loudoun County, Va. case study). Most importantly, public transit allows residents to access community resources and amenities, regardless of their ability to own or operate a personal means of transportation106 (see Nassau County, N.Y. case study). Transportation is the second-largest expense after housing for households in the United States.107

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Community & Neighborhood Development:

    Love Where You Live: Keep Mercer Clean Program in Mercer County, W.Va.

    • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 58.3k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 21.0k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.4%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $1.6B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $40.8k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 108.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Established a community cleanup program
    • Program fosters community participation, improves the local environment and educates residents about the importance keeping the county clean
    • The county invests $7,000 annually in the program
    Community Impacts
    • Over 1,000 volunteers participate and collect more than 200 tons of trash over a 40-day period each year
    • Inspired the Take Five program to encourage residents to continue community cleanup during the pandemic
    Overview

    Located in the heart of scenic Appalachia, Mercer County, W.Va. is a medium-sized rural county with over 58,000 residents.109 The county’s economy is largely comprised of retail trade and tourism, among others. The county offers visitors a glimpse into its unique historical heritage and many of opportunities for outdoor activities, including Camp Creek State Park and Forest, Winterplace Ski Resort, Pinnacle Rock State Park and Brush Creek Falls. Nearby Pipestem State Park and the newly named New River Gorge National Park are some of the many outdoor sites in the county that draw tourists annually.

    Outcomes

    In 2015, Mercer County established the Love Where You Live: Keep Mercer Clean campaign, a community cleanup effort to improve the community environment and educate residents about the importance of keeping the county clean. The county invests only $7,000 annually in the program to cover expenses for supplies and logistics, but with the support of over 1,000 volunteers and local non-profit organizations, the county organizes numerous cleanup projects for properties and homes. As a result of Keep Mercer Clean, the county regularly collects more than 200 tons of trash over a 40-day period through the program with interest and participation steadily increasing.

    In addition to the cleanups, the broad-based education campaign for youth is integral to achieving greater success. Coloring books highlighting local tourism sites and the campaign mascot, Rocky, flyers showcasing activities and the need for recycling are a regular part of the efforts. In 2020, to help promote adequate social distancing and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercer County expanded its community improvement campaign with the launch of its Take Five program, an initiative that provides sanitary equipment to residents and encourages them to collect five bags of trash.

    Community-based cleanup projects not only address local environmental issues but create safe communities where residents can thrive economically. The Urban Institute’s framework for boosting upward mobility lists supportive communities as one of three broad drivers that propel residents out of poverty and contribute to their lifetime economic success.110 Supportive communities include safe and inclusive neighborhoods that offer good environmental quality, a sense of belongingness to residents, among other characteristics.111 Neighborhood cleanup projects, like Keep Mercer Clean, are one of many local strategies that county leaders can employ to improve environmental conditions which improve residents’ well-being and overall success. These projects also allow county leaders to offer residents opportunities to contribute to their community (a sense of belongingness) and simultaneously foster mobility within communities. The Keep Mercer Clean program allows Mercer County to offer residents meaningful participation in shaping their community while improving the environmental quality in the community.

    For more information:

    • contact Commissioner Puckett: greg.puckett@mercercountywv.org
    • see A county with heart cleans up its act

    Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) in Loudoun County, Va.

    • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 422.8k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 223.2k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.3%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $25.7B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $142.3k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Information; Professional & Business Services; Government & Government Enterprises
    • Sources: See endnote 112.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Adopted a countywide transportation plan in response to transportation challenges
    • The county coordinates with various regional, state and local stakeholders to implement the plan
    • The county relies on several funding sources, such as local, regional, state, federal and public-private funding sources to finance transportation projects and implement priority transportation improvements
    Community Impacts
    • Reconnects neighborhoods cut off by underinvestment
    • Ensures new infrastructure and investments increase racial equity and environmental resilience
    • Efficient transportation systems schools (especially transit-dependent residents) link people to job opportunities
    Overview

    With more than 413,000 residents and an annual population growth rate of almost 2 percent, Loudoun County is the third largest and the fifth fastest-growing county in the state.113 Located in the northern region of Virginia, the county's population density ranks sixth highest in the state, with over 800 residents per square mile.114 In the past several decades, the county’s growth rate has continued to strain its transportation network. Furthermore, the county continues to see a significant shift in resident preferences for travel mode choice and must plan its transportation system accounting for current preferences and development patterns. The county also operates its own transportation services, including commuter buses, local fixed-route bus service/paratransit services and 22 commuter park-and-ride lots. Direct Metrorail connections to the county are expected to begin operation by 2022.

    Generally, under Virginia code, local planning commissions prepare and recommend a comprehensive plan and every governing body adopts the comprehensive plan for its jurisdiction.115 Within these comprehensive plans are transportation plans developed by each locality. These transportation plans offer recommendations and address the transportation infrastructure needs of a locality's system of roadways, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, railways, bridges, waterways, airports, ports, and public transportation facilities.116

    Outcomes

    In response to transportation challenges, Loudoun County developed and adopted its first Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) in 1995.117 The county continues to adapt and build upon it to address the community's needs.118 The CTP guides investment for future transportation infrastructure and addresses all transportation modes within the county. The most recent CTP, initiated in the summer of 2016 and implemented in 2019, accommodates planned land use and development through 2040. The plan seeks to (1) provide access and mobility for residents, workers, and visitors; (2) protect and enhance health and safety through design and construction; and (3) promote quality of life by protecting the integrity of the various policy areas and incorporated towns as they relate to the transportation network.119 Throughout the process, the county coordinates with numerous regional, state and local stakeholders. The county relies on various sources of funding to finance transportation projects and implement priority transportation improvements. These funding sources include local funds (i.e., general obligation bonds, local taxes) and regional, state, federal and public-private funding sources (such as proffers).120

    Transportation is a key county responsibility and a critical factor that influences residents' economic outcomes.

    Transportation is a key county responsibility and a critical factor that influences residents' economic outcomes. Transportation can also impact business location decisions that create more economic opportunities in communities. Additionally, transportation reconnects neighborhoods cut off by underinvestment, ensuring new infrastructure and investments increase racial equity and environmental resilience. By engaging in local transportation planning, Loudoun County ensures the local system promotes equitable economic development by linking people to job opportunities and schools (especially transit-dependent residents), thereby spurring higher upward mobility in the community.

    For more information, see:

    • Loudoun County 2019 Countywide Transportation Plan
    • Loudoun County Transit Development Plan Fiscal Years 2018-2028
    • Loudoun County 2019 Countywide Transportation Plan

    Micro Transit in Nassau County, N.Y.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 1.4M
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 698.9k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.4%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $84.6B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $116.1k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output: Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
    • Sources: See endnote 121.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Community-based transportation solutions that include a mix of on-demand vehicles
    • Solution operated through a public-private partnership with the Nassau Inter-County Express Bus
    Community Impacts
    • Provides access to new transportation options
    • Improves accessibility and transit equity
    Overview

    Nassau County, N.Y. is a densely populated county in the Long Island region with over 1.3 million residents.122 Benefiting from bountiful business exchanges with New York City and a large labor force, Nassau County has become an innovator in transit.

    Transportation access is a key element of economic mobility; access to employment, education and housing options directly correlate with opportunity and outcomes. A pioneer in this territory, Nassau County is one of the first localities in the nation to invest in "micro-transit" pilots. Micro-transit pilots include a series of community-based transportation solutions that include flexible routing and hailed on-demand vehicles made available throughout the county. Micro-transit services allow transit providers, such as local governments, to provide coverage in areas where traditional public transit options are not feasible. Thus, such programs better serve the transit needs of residents by expanding transit coverage in various parts of the community. Nassau County operates the micro-transit program through a public-private partnership with the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) Bus under a long-term transit transformation planned for the county.

    Outcomes

    Proponents of micro-transit laud this transportation format for improving accessibility and transit equity. Micro transit eliminates transit deserts, especially in places like Nassau County, where many rely on public transportation to commute to work. Nassau County reports that 154,000 low-income residents and 906,000 jobs within easy walking distance of NICE service.

    For more information, see:

    • NICE Bus: A Multi-Year Transit Vision for Nassau County May 2018

    Choose Erie in Erie County, Pa.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 268.4k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 126.7k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.8%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $10.9B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $51.5k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 123.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Attracts and establishes new businesses, investments and other organizations in the community
    • County plays the role of funder and convener
    • Established partnership with the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership to support project
    Community Impacts
    • Provides access to new resources including low-interest financing options
    • Publicly available data dashboard showcasing the county’s economic landscape
    Overview

    Generally, Pennsylvania counties possess limited authority relating to mobility. Counties can oversee housing authorities, engage in public-private partnerships and, in some instances, even enact zoning policies. Erie County is just one of a handful of Pennsylvania counties with Home Rule status, thus providing additional levers (within the limits of state statute) that Erie County can use to support economic mobility.

    Outcomes

    In 2016, Erie County initiated the Choose Erie program, which helps attract and establish private and non-profit organizations in the community.124 The initiative leverages many avenues designed to attract business development to the county, including a data dashboard showcasing the economic environment of the county, access to various resources and connections to foster development and low-interest financing options for businesses.125 Erie County works as both a funder and a convener in this initiative, partnering with the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership to support the project.

    Business development and expansion are crucial to economic mobility, providing a healthy basis for the local economy.

    Business development and expansion are crucial to economic mobility, providing a healthy basis for the local economy. More businesses produce more employment opportunities while establishing a resilient local economy. This strong foundation encourages further investment towards growth and development within the community. The Choose Erie program is just one of many ways Erie County is fostering economic mobility at the local level.

    For more information:

    • Choose Erie

    Transit-Oriented Development Program in Hennepin County, Minn.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 1.3M
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 710.3k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 6.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $125.8B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $78.2k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Finance & Insurance; Manufacturing
    • Sources: See endnote 126.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Provides grants to incentivize community public transportation developments
    • Supports developers and organizations to rehabilitate developments around transit opportunities
    Community Impacts
    • Expanded bike and pedestrian infrastructure and increased development near dense business areas
    • Diversified affordable housing availability near transit areas
    • Creates high paying jobs and investments in infrastructure improvements
    Overview

    In 2003, Hennepin County, through its Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), embarked upon the Transit-Oriented Development program to provide grants that incentivize community developments close to public transportation.127 The development projects supported by this program include expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure, increasing development density near transit, diversifying housing type and affordability near transit, business space development near transit, investment in pedestrian-friendly designs within the community and investment in enhancing public spaces near transit.128 The program allows Hennepin County to support cities, developers and organizations to create and rehabilitate community developments around transit infrastructure.

    Outcomes

    One past project of the Transit-Oriented Development program is a grant to the City of Bloomington for upgrades to the sewer system; these upgrades led to well-paying jobs in a high-tech manufacturing company, leveraging $90 million by the business in an expanded clean-room manufacturing hub. This grant-funded project also allowed for sidewalk and lighting improvements to ensure easier access between area businesses and a nearby light-rail transit station.129 Access to public transportation enables individuals to broaden employment prospects by removing some of the limits of proximity for individuals without dependable transportation.

    For more information, see:

    • Hennepin County Economic Development - Transit Oriented Development

    Justice & Public Safety: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    In the United States, counties play a critical role in administering justice and public safety services. Counties support 91 percent of all local jails, processing 11 million admissions every year; invest $28.7 billion in correctional facilities; and incur $20.9 billion in court costs and legal services.130 Additionally, most counties retain police and sheriff’s departments to promote public safety, investing over $42 billion in these services annually.131

    Even short stays in jail while awaiting trial can have negative consequences, such as the accumulation of criminal justice fees. The inability to pay these costs, which can quickly accumulate into the thousands of dollars, can result in further penalties such as suspended drivers’ licenses that can prevent the individual from returning to work, resulting in a cycle of continued loss of economic opportunity.132 After release from jails or prison, people continue to face longstanding challenges securing adequate employment. Formerly incarcerated people work fewer weeks each year, earn less money and have limited upward mobility.133 Furthermore, employment prospects for formerly incarcerated individuals are diminished due to negative stigmas, usually forcing individuals into lower-wage or undesirable employment.134

    Counties improve long-term economic outcomes by reducing disparities in the justice system and the delivery of public safety services.

    People who receive support to stay out of jail through diversion programs that offer employment, housing and health care services have lower recidivism rates and better life outcomes. The relationship between economic mobility and penalties from incarceration is particularly salient for communities of color, such as low-income Black men who experience higher arrest rates.135

    With counties positioned to play such a key role in justice and public safety, many levers are available to promote economic mobility. One such lever is justice reform measures, such as those implemented in Georgia, which help reduce jail populations – specifically for people charged with nonviolent offenses. Additionally, diversion programs such as work release, education and records expungement (where applicable) help to reduce the economic penalties of incarceration in Georgia counties.

    In Oregon, counties can oversee local committees to review data, policies and practices to enhance public safety, improve services to people involved in the justice system and promote equitable criminal justice policies. Counties in Oregon also work to address the needs of people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal legal system through diversion programs that offer treatment and services instead of jail.

    In pursuing justice and public safety levers, counties can promote positive solutions that improve individual and family outcomes by providing services and supports that reduce recidivism and increase employment prospects while fostering safe communities. This is at the heart of providing opportunity for economic mobility.

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Justice & Public Safety:

    Justice and Public Safety Programs in Multnomah County, Ore.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 815.6k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 457.4k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $69.2k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
    • Sources: See endnote 136.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Partnerships between the County Department of Corrections and community stakeholders in the statewide reentry initiative
    • Program supports who completed treatment during incarceration find wrap-around services including housing, employment, substance abuse treatment and many more
    Community Impacts
    • The reentry initiative produced a 43 percent reduction in the arrest rate in participating individuals
    • Facilitated the development of two new statewide reentry programs, Short-Term Transitional Leave (STTL) and the SE Works New Start Reentry Resource Center
    Overview

    Counties in Oregon are responsible for overseeing most of the departments and agencies associated with justice and public safety such as court systems, sheriff departments, local jails, programs to reduce recidivism and other evidence-based programs, such as community supervision, to foster positive development in the justice and public safety arena. Though Oregon counties are the primary purveyor of justice and public safety, state prisons and city police departments are two areas in which counties do not hold authority. Many issue areas within justice and public safety have economic mobility implications such as sentencing policies, combating recidivism and supporting those with mental health conditions.

    To this end, Multnomah County was engaged in the Reentry Enhancement Coordination (REC) program, a partnership with the Volunteers of America Oregon, the Oregon Department of Corrections and two community-based nonprofit organizations. The program, launched in 2009, helped individuals in four counties who have severe drug or alcohol addictions and completed treatment during incarceration to find housing, treatment and employment as individuals transition back into the community.137 An initial study in 2011 (with small sample size) found that this program was successful in assisting individuals, reporting a 43 percent reduction in the arrest rate for individuals participating in the program within Multnomah County.138 Across all four counties in the study, individuals involved in the REC program compared to those who have not yielded a 27 percent reduction for any charge, 41 percent reduction for misdemeanor charges and 33 percent felony charge reduction.139 The reduced involvement with the justice system, in turn, results in reduced costs to individuals incurred from justice system-related involvement, thus helping to foster economic mobility.

    Outcomes

    In recent years, Oregon lawmakers have created two programs that effectively replace the original REC program. The first of these two programs is the Short-Term Transitional Leave (STTL) program. Oregon’s STTL program, in which Multnomah County participates, has undergone many revisions, most recently in 2017.140 This program supports incarcerated individuals by providing an avenue for an early release, requiring a supportive release plan and ensuring access to services such as a housing program through Bridges to Change (if the individual does not have access to a private residence or substance abuse treatment). An additional example is Multnomah County’s collaboration with the SE Works New Start Reentry Resource Center. This center helps support individuals in the SSTL and Alternative Incarceration Programs access case management, resume development, application assistance, subsidized on-the-job training, work-related training certifications and transitional and career track placement services.141 Through the STTL program, individuals have the opportunity and support for successfully transitioning back into the community. Successful reentry is pivotal to economic mobility because the period following release is usually one of the most precarious times. A stable transition back into the community provides a footing for job attainment and a secure environment.142

    The second program built upon the successes of the REC program is the Alternative Incarceration Program (AIP). The AIP program is a product of the Oregon Department of Corrections, implemented at the county level. This program funds the institutional treatment programs within prison. Once the participant completes the AIP substance abuse programs, they are eligible to receive up to a six-month early release, with many of the same features and resources provided under the STTL program. As such, the AIP program produces similar mobility outcomes by providing the individual with a stable footing, support and resources to transition back into the community. This groundwork for success and stability leads to upward mobility.

    For more information on:

    • the REC program, see here.
    • the Short-Term Transitional Leave Program, see here.
    • the Alternative Incarceration Program, see here.

    Resource Re-Entry Center and the CareManager Platform in Bernalillo County, N.M.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 681.7k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 330.6k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.1%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $34.3B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $53.3k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises, Professional & Business Services, Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 143.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Public-private partnership between the county and a private sector firm
    • Aims to reduce recidivism and connect those with behavioral issues to resources
    • Provides referrals for other community-based programs that increase access to other resources and opportunities for employment
    Community Impacts
    • Support provided to more than 12,000 formerly incarcerated individuals through the Resource Re-Entry Center in 2020
    • Addresses public safety needs and assists those transitioning out of the justice system
    Overview

    New Mexico counties, like many counties across the nation, are the primary administrator of local jails. With the responsibility of local jails comes the opportunity to address economic mobility in unique ways with innovative technology and programs.

    The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative encompasses a variety of programs addressing mental and physical health, as well as social determinants of health. One of the Bernalillo County initiatives in this space is the Resource Re-Entry Center, a program built to reduce recidivism and connect individuals with behavioral health needs to resources upon release from incarceration. To operate the center efficiently, the Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services partnered with a private industry company, Netsmart, to implement their CareManager platform. This platform allows staff to coordinate care, make informed decisions at the point of care and seamlessly facilitate referrals to community partners. The CareManager platform consolidates information about individuals transitioning through the Resource Re-Entry Center into a single view while maintaining the ability to view data at a granular level. Using a single platform also eliminates data siloes, empowering a more holistic view of individuals.

    Outcomes

    A total of over 12,000 individuals met with the Resource Re-Entry Center case managers in 2020 after being released from incarceration – and nearly 50 people enter the center daily as their first stop after release from the county detention center. The center provides referrals for various community-based providers such as behavioral health services, housing, education and training, transportation and medical care. These referrals contribute to economic mobility as access to resources and employment after incarceration often reduces recidivism and bolsters economic success.144 Bernalillo County plans to continue improving its justice and public safety services by integrating the CareManager platform with the jail IT systems.

    Serious mental illness is pervasive in jails – about three to six times higher than the general population.145 Upon release from detention, a person with a mental illness or a substance use disorder often becomes reincarcerated later. Reincarceration can lead to social, economic and financial losses for individuals, a particularly impactful consequence for minority communities – black communities in particular – disproportionally represented in the justice system.146

    The CareManager platform within the Resource Re-Entry center resides at the intersection of technology and the justice and public safety authorities within Bernalillo County. Implementation of this program allows Bernalillo County an avenue to address needs in justice and public safety more efficiently as they relate to reducing recidivism while simultaneously providing resources to help support individuals after they leave jail. Outcomes of both interventions yield direct contributions to economic mobility for members of the formerly incarcerated community.

    Note: Some of the information presented in this case study was originally drafted by a NACo Corporate Partner, NetSmart, for inclusion in NACo’s County News, March 22, 2021 edition.

    For more information:

    • see, County News, March 22, 2021 Edition
    • see, Bernalillo County Resource Re-Entry Center
    • see, CareManager - NetSmart Partnership with Bernalillo County

    Technology & Information Access: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    One crucial area of economic mobility – which has become increasingly apparent throughout the coronavirus pandemic – is an individual’s access to technology and information. Counties are working as catalysts for broadband investment in communities (see Erie County, Pa. case study) and broadband is increasingly available to most of the population, with 73 percent of adults having high-speed broadband at home in 2019.147 Communities lacking broadband access skew heavily towards lower-income (56 percent of those making less than $30,000 annually have broadband), lower-educational attainment (46 percent of those without a high school diploma have access) and rural communities (63 percent of those in rural communities have broadband access).148

    On the national level, county leaders have banded together to form a task force of over 30 members to advocate for increased broadband investment in local communities.149 Counties in Ohio work with the municipalities and cities to lead the way in broadband and technology investment with a focus on bringing broadband into rural areas through partnerships to expand access, and into underserved urban areas by working to increase the affordability of these tools.

    Oregon counties may act as a provider of broadband and telecommunication services to local communities – even those outside their county – though this presents unique barriers. Most Oregon counties promote broadband investment by actively discussing investment with state and private partners (see Multnomah County, Ore. case study). Similarly, Georgia counties are active in these same discussions surrounding broadband and worked with the private industries on 5G deployment with incentives specifically targeting deployment in rural communities through new state legislation.

    The advancement of economic mobility is intertwined with access to technology, information and digital literacy.

    Increased broadband access provides opportunities for employment, income creation and provides a means of connection to other resources or information. Also important is technology, like computers and smartphones, and the digital literacy to use such devices.

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Technology & Information Access:

    Erie County Broadband Initiative in Erie County, Pa.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 268.4k
    • Size of Labor Force (2020): 126.7k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.8%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $10.9B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $51.5k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 150.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Partnered with regional stakeholders to examine the local broadband or technology landscape
    • Developed a comprehensive plan to identify gaps and growth areas for broadband infrastructure
    • Partnering with internet providers and other stakeholders to expand broadband access
    Community Impacts
    • Resulted in the formation of the Erie County Broadband Initiative
    • Working toward expanding broadband coverage across the community
    Overview

    Positioned between Ohio and New York, Erie County, Pa. (home to Erie and Corry Cities) is the only county in Pennsylvania located on the coast of Lake Erie. As of 2019, about 81 percent of households in the county have a broadband internet subscription, and 88 percent of households own a computer.151 However, broadband access is not always akin to quality broadband. About 65 percent of counties experience internet speeds below the FCC’s definition of broadband, including roughly 52 percent of mid-sized counties such as Erie.152

    Outcomes

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has helped to illuminate, accessing specific technologies like quality broadband provides a gateway for economic mobility. In 2015, Erie County joined several other organizations and local governments in Northwest Pennsylvania to form the Northwest Pennsylvania Broadband Committee. The committee, part of Connection Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program, produced the Community Technology Action Plan (CTAP) in 2017.153 CTAP identified gaps and growth areas for new high-speed internet infrastructure, analyzed the current capacity available to meet broadband needs, identified best practices to improve infrastructure and produced recommended strategies to provide affordable internet coverage.154 Through this plan, Erie County has been able to identify specific areas of need, which the county is addressing through the Erie County Broadband Initiative. The initiative aims to expand broadband coverage to 100 percent of Erie County residents by working with Internet Service Providers, utility companies, municipalities, broadband organizations, and state and federal government partners.155

    For more information:

    • see, Erie County Broadband

    Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study in Multnomah County, Ore.

    • County Authority: Home Rule
    • Population (2020): 815.6k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 457.4k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $69.2k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
    • Sources: See endnote 156.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Conducted a study to determine the possibility of a publicly owned and operated internet provider
    • Engaged several community members, stakeholders and partners
    Community Impacts
    • Identified urgencies for potential broadband implementation
    • Identified availability of funding streams to leverage for large-scale project
    Overview

    Counties in Oregon generally have a wide berth of authority relating to high-speed internet access due to the relative novelty of broadband legislation in Oregon. Barred only by an inability to preempt state laws, counties possess the ability to create alliances, negotiate contracts and even provide broadband as a public service utility. In fact, in the 1990s' western Oregon counties embarked upon a project to provide high-speed fiber and internet to residents. Throughout the pandemic, the technology divide within urbanized counties like Multnomah has become apparent – particularly the unequal access for low-income and minority residents. Multnomah County explored the feasibility of a publicly owned and operated internet service provider within the county to address these challenges.

    Outcomes

    Multnomah County began a Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, engaging several community stakeholders and partners throughout late 2019 and early 2020 in determining the need and feasibility of a publicly owned and operated internet provider.157 The study examined all facets of a potential implementation such as costs, need, public perception and existing services within the jurisdiction to determine viability for such a project. Through community input such as town hall discussions, surveys and other research, Multnomah County deduced findings and priorities for potential broadband implementation. A few of these findings include a need for implementation to be transparent and equitable – so long as services are reliable, some residents would be willing to pay more to offset costs for others – and widespread public support for the project.158 However, as with any large-scale project, an existing barrier for counties to create public utilities for broadband is a lack of funding. To this end, the study also identifies several possible sources of funding for Multnomah County, including funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.159 Armed with this information, Multnomah County can make effective decisions on how to proceed with broadband development within the county.

    For more information:

    • see Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study

    Financial Security: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

    Financial security means accessibility to funds that can provide basic requirements like shelter, food, water and ancillary needs. Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans expected to live paycheck to paycheck in 2020160 according to a pre-pandemic survey, and the share of workers reportedly living paycheck to paycheck has only increased throughout the pandemic, to roughly 63 percent.161 Financial security’s ties to economic mobility have only become exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic since the economic impacts have concentrated among lower-income individuals. Similarly, Black Americans, who historically have been among the less financially secure, are more likely to draw upon retirement savings when faced with economic hardships.162 Even those moving upwards economically are often disadvantaged if they are not financially secure. 163

    Achieving financial security relies on the attainment of three pillars: routinely positive cash flow, personal resources and public and private benefits.164 At the county level, the translation from these pillars to public policy is varied. For instance, social service programs in Georgia counties, such as unemployment insurance and SNAP benefits, which fall under the public and private benefits pillar, are administered at the state level.

    County authority related to routinely positive cash flow is slightly more flexible. Though usually limited to discussion in the context of the direct county workforce (county employees), authority related to routinely positive cash flow extends into other areas such as schooling. A significant relationship between K-12 school quality and earnings later in life suggests quality education in the formative years is important to achieving a routine positive cash flow as an adult.165 Furthermore, addressing needs outside of the classroom through the form of extracurricular services and resources are proven measures that lead to increased earnings later in life – especially for less-advantaged children – thus strengthening financial security and supporting upward mobility166 (see Bernalillo County, N.M. case study).

    However, the pillar to which county authority generally lends the most breadth in supporting financial security is the personal resources pillar. The personal resources pillar consists of savings and financial cushions, allowing for asset building and investment.167 Counties can promote and educate residents on saving for emergencies or retirement, facilitate programs to promote homeownership or enact workforce development programs to increase earning potential. Counties in Georgia have implemented solutions to bolster financial literacy by providing financial education or training to their community to help educate residents on smart financial habits such as saving for emergencies or retirement. In addition to these education methods, Georgia counties have the authority to convene partnerships with non-profit organizations providing services to individuals to help them become financially secure. Maryland counties may promote financial security by overseeing community colleges, workforce development boards and working with the state and non-profit organizations to promote homeownership programs.

    The financial well-being of residents is related to both short-term financial stability and longer-term upward economic mobility.

    Financially secure individuals can generally allocate more net income towards personal resource building such as homeownership, investments, savings and retirement funds or other forms of assets that can bolster mobility. One such example is in homeownership and affordable housing (see Mobile County, Ala. case study). Financing development projects for affordable single-family homes stimulate the supply side of the market, which also assists individuals to grow their resources by providing options for homeownership within the price range. Similarly, county incentives for developing affordable rental housing contribute to financial stability, and therefore economic mobility, by reducing costs associated with renting thereby helping individuals obtain routine positive cash flow.

    Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Financial Security:

    2-Generation Approach in Garrett County, Md.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 28.9k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 15.3k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 6.6%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $1.3B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $52.6k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises; Retail Trade
    • Sources: See endnote 168.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Facilitates a Two-generation (2Gen) approach that supports family well-being and child welfare
    • Uses proprietary data intake and outcome management software to implement approach
    • Connects at-need residents to county and state services as a one-stop-shop for services including career coaching, health insurance assistance, and adult education classes
    Community Impacts
    • Improved efficiency in administering services to residents
    • Inspired similar approaches in other counties across the state
    Overview

    Nestled just below the Mason-Dixon line and along the westernmost edge of Maryland is Garrett County. A member of the Appalachian region, Garrett County is a small county with one of the lowest median household incomes in the state.169

    In 2009, a local nonprofit called Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. (GCCAC) changed its organizational structure and processes to streamline public service delivery to residents through the lens of a 2-Generation approach.170 The 2-Generation approach, or 2Gen for short, is not a new concept. Originally coined by the Foundation for Child Development initiative launched in the 1980s, the approach centers around addressing family income security and child welfare policy.171 In Garrett County, GCCAC used the 2Gen approach in creating a proprietary data intake and outcome management software that identifies a multitude of services for which individuals may be eligible.172 Such services include career coaching, adult education classes, health insurance assistance, job searches and other fundamental services.173 Another element of the software is the ability to track services provided and progress towards achieving outcomes. This new way of providing a one-stop-shop for community members seeking services is called the Common Customer Intake system.174 This system addressed inefficiencies that previously required individuals seeking services for themselves and their families to apply to each service singly.

    Outcomes

    GCCAC has assisted families and children through the innovative implementation of the 2Gen approach. One individual attained energy assistance subsidized rental housing and affordable childcare along with other services allowing her to find work in the healthcare industry and pursue a college certification.175 Such successes rely on GCCAC’s partnerships with foundations and many community stakeholders, including Garrett County. The successes of GCCAC’s 2Gen approach in Garrett County spurred similar approaches in counties around the state and nation, as well as in Maryland State.176

    Through the support of Garrett County and other partnerships, the programs implemented under the 2Gen approach contribute to economic mobility by addressing the lever of financial security. These programs assist with building personal resources, increasing access to public and private benefits and helping individuals establish routinely positive cash flow; thus, invoking all three pillars of financial security identified in the Aspen Institute’s research in one initiative.

    For more information:

    • see Garrett County 2-Generation (2-G)

    First-Time Homebuyer Program & Financial Stability for the Unbanked Program in Mobile County, Ala.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 412.7k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 190.9k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.9%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $18.5B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $47.6k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Government & Government Enterprises; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 177.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Formed a coalition of several organizations and local governments to launch homeownership and financial stability program
    • Connected unbanked and underbanked individuals to financial education and resources
    • Includes down payment assistance for first time home buyers, financing development of affordable homes and financing the development of rental housing
    Community Impacts
    • Creates a pathway for accumulation of financial assets and resources for residents
    • Expands the supply of affordable housing
    Overview

    In 2014, Bank On South Alabama, a coalition of several organizations and local governments, including Mobile County, launched.178 The initiative drives towards many goals, including reaching out to unbanked and underbanked individuals, providing financial education and offering resources to assist individuals in achieving financial stability.179 About 6 percent of individuals were unbanked, while about 16 percent were underbanked in 2018.180 The terms “unbanked” and “underbanked” typically refer to individuals who make little or no use of banking services, instead of relying on alternative financial services such as check-cashing services, payday loans or money orders which often result in increased costs to the individual.181 Those considered to be unbanked or underbanked are typically lower-income individuals within minority communities.182 As such, Bank On South Alabama, supported by Mobile County, addresses financial security through all pillars identified by the Aspen Institute.

    Outcomes

    Another program addressing financial security and economic mobility in Mobile County is the county implementation of the national HOME Investments Partnership program. This program seeks to expand the supply of affordable housing, focusing on lower-income families.183 Mobile County directly administers three branches of this program through the County Grants Department.184 The county uses the funds allocated for this program in three ways: a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers, financing development of affordable homes and financing the development of rental housing.185 All three of these sub-programs support the pillar of personal resources by aiding low-income individuals seeking to purchase or rent homes. The down payment assistance program provides between $1,000 and $10,000 to individuals within Mobile County whose median household income is less than or equal to 80 percent of the current median family income within the county, depending on the number of persons within the household and the combined household income.186 The provided funds are an interest-free deferred loan intended to supplement or cover the down-payment on a mortgage for a single-family home.187 The loan is then forgiven over five years so long as the individual lives within the home on a full-time basis throughout the entirety of those five years.188 The accumulation of personal resources and assets, including homeownership, provides individuals with a financial cushion and helps to build personal wealth, thus driving economic mobility.189

    For more information:

    • on the Bank on South Alabama, see here.
    • on Mobile County’s implementation of the HOME Program, see here.

    ABC School Partnership in Bernalillo County, N.M.

    • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
    • Population (2020): 681.7k
    • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 330.6k
    • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.1%
    • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
    • Median Household Income (2019): $53.3k
    • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
    • Sources: See endnote 190.
    • Learn more
    Key Program Tenets
    • Joint Powers Agreement between the county, public schools, businesses, local organizations and other local governments in the community
    • Provides a variety of educational, after school programming, and health and social services to students in the community
    Community Impacts
    • More than 8,000 students and families received health care and other basic services through this program
    • Helps to address inequities in economic mobility
    • The leading demographic served are Latino
    Overview

    Bernalillo County resides in the central region of New Mexico and is the central county for Albuquerque. As the most populated county in the state, Bernalillo had nearly 100,000 students in public elementary and secondary schools in 2017.191

    In Bernalillo County, the ABC Community School Partnership focuses on providing a quality educational experience to students, both in and out of the classroom. Community schooling is not itself a program, but rather a strategy that brings community resources and partners together to address academics, health and social services and community engagement and development.192 The Community Schools do not solely operate during school hours – they also are available for students before and after school, on the weekends and in the summers.

    Outcomes

    Bernalillo County engages with the ABC Community Schools Partnership both financially and as a member of the community. The Partnership began in 2007 through a Joint Powers Agreement between Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County, Albuquerque City, the United Way of Central New Mexico and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact.193 Additionally, several local organizations such as the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Civic Engagement Partnership and the local Boys and Girls Club are all engaged in the Partnership.194 Through these partners, ABC Community Schools can provide services and programs including clubs and activities, sports, student transportation services and before and after school programming.195 Within the schools, a resource coordinator is responsible for connecting students to the resources and programs they need to be successful.196 The strategy and approach ABC Community Schools uses has yielded many successes within the community. Throughout the first quarter of the 2018–2019 school year, the Partnership produced nearly 33,000 contacts across four domains.197 This includes the over 8,800 students and families who received access to health care and basic needs services, the 17,000 family members who participated in engagement activities and over 4,500 students who participated in expanded learning opportunities.198 As of the 2015–2016 school year, there were 23 Community Schools in the county.199 The programs and resources provided in these schools help raise the educational quality and support students and families receive. In turn, this contributes to individual financial security both in the short term and throughout the child’s lifetime.

    The ABC Community Schools Partnership in Bernalillo County also helps address inequities in economic mobility as the leading demographic served by the initiative are Latinx (over 66 percent enrolled). Only 18 percent of enrolled students are considered English language learners, and nearly 64 percent of all students enrolled receive free lunches.200 Despite an economically disadvantaged background, the quality schooling and resources provided by the ABC Community School Partnership help to provide financial security to individuals and families within Bernalillo County.

    For more information:

    • see here

    Conclusion

    Counties are one of the closest forms of government to people, making them uniquely positioned to develop approaches that improve individuals and families' economic opportunity and ensure support reaches those who need it most. Counties already play an instrumental role across several factors (i.e., education, housing, workforce development, health, etc.) that influence economic mobility. Therefore, counties have the tools necessary to drive inclusive and equitable upward mobility where residents have access to resources and are empowered to pursue their economic potential.

    Because counties have distinct roles and authorities in these seven key factors, county policies and investments are particular effective solutions to uplift communities and residents and drive their upward mobility.

    Neighborhoods with high upward mobility levels possess characteristics, such as less residential segregation, lower rates of inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better educational opportunities and access to well-paying jobs, to name a few. Counties working within the power and authorities defined by the state can employ various levers such as policy and decision-making powers, program enacting or administering authority, and even form partnerships to foster equitable and inclusive economic mobility prospects.

    Authors and Acknowledgements

    NACo’s Economic Mobility Leadership Network is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings and conclusions contained above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The authors would like to thank every county official who participated in the Economic Mobility Leadership Network in 2019 and 2020, as they added diverse, invaluable insights to the work and without them it would not exist. Numerous county staff and staff of state county associations also contributed to the research of this report. The authors are also grateful to the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, particularly Tim Shaw, who provides guidance and policy expertise in support of the cohort. The authors also express their appreciation to their Public Affairs colleagues for the graphic design and the website of the report. Finally, the authors would like to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their ongoing support of the project.

    Within the National Association of Counties, the authors would like to thank Ricardo Aguilar, Victoria Akosile, Kiely Ford and Delaney Hertel for helping to develop the report. This report was prepared by Stacy Nakintu, Research & Data Analyst, Kevin Shrawder, Associate Economist, Katie Sullivan, Program Manager, Resilient Economies & Communities with guidance from Teryn Zmuda, Chief Economist and Director of the Counties Futures Lab, Ashleigh Holand, Director of Programs and Practices and Jonathan Harris, Associate Director of Research. The authors would also like to thank Alejandra Montoya-Boyer and Ruochen Wang for their contributions to this publication.

    The authors would like to recognize three counties who have contributed to the success of the EMLN throughout its existence but did not participate in 2020: Bernalillo County, N.M., Garrett County, Md. and Washington County, Va.

    Notes On Methodology

    To prepare this report, NACo relied on three efforts:

    1. Results of a survey of EMLN participating counties.
    2. Several in-depth interviews with county officials and staff, as well as state association staff.
    3. Feedback from county officials and staff on county case studies.

    In 2019, NACo administered a survey to county officials from 20 EMLN participating counties. The survey consisted of several questions related to economic mobility. This study used responses to identify programs to highlight in the county case studies. The one-hour in-depth interviews allowed research staff to understand the powers and authorities of county governments across various issue areas (i.e., health, financial security, education, workforce development, etc.).

    Glossary of Key Terms

    Absolute mobility: A measure of mobility that examines how likely an individual is to exceed their parents' income at a similar age.

    Dillon’s rule: One of the forms of local government authority where counties can only exercise powers explicitly stated in state law and must obtain state approval for any changes in their structure, function or fiscal organization. Counties and municipalities must obtain permission from the state legislature to pass a law or ordinance which is not explicitly permitted under existing state legislation.

    Economic mobility: The ability to move up and down the economic ladder either across a lifetime or across generations — usually measured in income.

    Economic Mobility Leadership Network: A cohort of county leaders that examines the range of complicated issues that comprise economic mobility, including housing, food insecurity and an overall lack of opportunity.

    Home Rule: Another form of local government authority where counties and municipalities are granted local autonomy or local self-determination without state interference through state constitutions or statutes. States may pass laws limiting the powers of counties, as opposed to passing laws that give powers (as seen in Dillon's rule states).

    Home Rule charters: States grant limited authority to local governments by the passage of state statutes. The states mandate some form of Home Rule authority without formal grants of Home Rule power to counties.

    Intra-generational mobility: A concept that examines changes in an individual's or group's income over their lifetime. It is also measured based on absolute or relative differences.

    Inter-generational mobility: A concept that examines economic mobility across generations. Inter-generational mobility compares an individual's income as an adult relative to their parent's (or grandparent's) income at a similar age. It is also measured based on absolute or relative differences.

    Relative mobility: A measure that examines the ranking of individuals' income on the income distribution compared to their parents, peers, or over their lifetime.

    Endnotes

    [1] Margery Austin Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action Summary” (Washington D.C.: Urban Institute, 2020).

    [2] Aparna Mathur, Abby McCloskey and Erin Melley, “The American Dream in 2020: How to Strengthen It” (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 2020).

    [3] Intergenerational Elasticity (IGE) measures the strength of the relationship between the income of parents and that of children. The IGE is interpreted as the percent increase in the expected income of children (when they are adults) given an additional percentage point of parental income. It is often used as a measure of economic mobility because it refers to the persistence in economic standing across generations. See Pew Charitable Trusts and the Russell Sage Foundation, “Economic Mobility in the United States” (2015).

    [4] Raj Chetty and others, “Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility.” Working Paper 19844 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014).

    [5] Raj Chetty and others, “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940.” Working Paper 22910 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016).

    [6] Miles Corak, “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives (3) [2013]: 79–102.

    [7] Raj Chetty and others, “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.” Working Paper 19843 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014).

    [8] Ibid.

    [9] Ibid.

    [10] Ibid.

    [11] Ibid

    [12] Ibid.

    [13] Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects.” Working Paper 23001 (National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2016, Revised May 2017).

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Raj Chetty and others, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective.” Working Paper 24441 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018).

    [16] Ibid.

    [17] Ibid

    [18] Ibid.

    [19] Counties in Utah are under “Hutchinson’s Rule” – which is something in between Dillon’s rule and Home rule. Basically, the counties are under Dillon’s Rule, but the courts are told to rule favorably on the side of counties.

    [20] Ibid.

    [21] Blumenthal and McGinty, “Housing Policy Levers to Promote Economic Mobility” Urban Institute (September 2015).

    [22] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance data, 2017.

    [23] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2020” (2020).

    [24] The Aspen Institute, “Strong Foundations: Financial Security Starts with Affordable, Stable Housing” (2020).

    [25] Ibid.

    [26] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [27] Katie Sullivan, “Member Profile: Commissioner Mack Bernard, Palm Beach County, Fla.” (2021), available at: https://www.naco.org/blog/member-profile-commissioner-mack-bernard-palm-beach-county-fla (May 4, 2021).

    [28] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) One-Year Estimates, 2017.

    [29] Matthew Sellers and Jacqueline Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report” (Washington, D.C.: National Association of Counties, 2010).

    [30] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [31] The Home Consortium, “Funding” (n.d.), available at http://www.homeconsortium.info/about-us/funding/ (March 24, 2020).

    [32] Waukesha County, “The HOME Consortium” (n.d.), available at https://www.waukeshacounty.gov/landandparks/community-development/learn-more-about/HOME%20Program/home-program/ (March 24, 2020).

    [33] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [34] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019. NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

    [35] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2014–2018 (Table B19049).

    [36] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2012–2016 (Table B25070).

    [37] See Howard County MIHU Homeownership Information Workshops PowerPoint Presentation, “Moderate Income Housing Unit Program: Making Housing Dreams Come True” (2021), available at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=U2d6yOIDFs0%3d&tabid=2837&portalid=0 (March 24, 2021).

    [38] NACo interview with Howard County, 2021.

    [39] Ibid.

    [40] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance, 2017.

    [41] Reuben Finighan and Robert Putnam, “A Country Divided: The Growing Opportunity Gap in America” (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 2017).

    [42] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Education Access and Quality, “available at https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/education-access-and-quality (June 15, 2021).

    [43] See Elizabeth M. Lawrence, “Why Do College Graduates Behave More Healthfully than Those Who Are Less Educated?” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 58 (3) (2017): 291–306 and Jennifer Ma, Matea Pender, and Meredith Welch, “Education Pays 2019: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society” (College Board, 2019).

    [44] Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, “Brain Architecture, “available at https://www.thencit.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Brain Science Infographic.pdf (June 16, 2021).

    [45] National Association of Counties (NACo), “NACo Legislative Brief: Proposals to Address The Covid-19 Child Care Crisis” (2021), available at https://www.naco.org/sites/default/files/documents/NACo Legislative Brief - Proposals to Address the COVID 19 Child Care Crisis_Jan 2021.pdf (June 15, 2021).

    [46] Ibid.

    [47] Ibid.

    [48] National Association of Counties (NACo), “Counties at Work Counties Support Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Opportunities for Residents” (2021), available at https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/counties-supporting-postsecondary-education-systems-and-workforce-opportunities (June 15, 2021).

    [49] Alan Berube, “Three things that matter for upward mobility in the labor market” (2019), available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/01/15/three-things-that-matter-for-upward-mobility-in-the-labor-market/ (March 24, 2021).

    [50] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [51] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP).

    [52] NACo Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics – Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

    [53] Tarrant County’s median household income is $4,857 above the national median household which is 65,712. NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates.

    [54] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, 2019.

    [55] Ibid.

    [56] Laurie M. Anderson and others, “The Effectiveness of Early Childhood Development Programs: A Systematic Review,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 24 (3) (2003): 32–46.

    [57] Ibid.

    [58] Raj Chetty and others, “Economic Mobility” (2015), available at https://inequality.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/SOTU_2015_economic-mobility.pdf (March 24, 2021).

    [59] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [60] See Franklin County Board of Commissioners, “Rise Together: A Blueprint for Reducing Poverty in Franklin County” (2019), available at https://commissioners.franklincountyohio.gov/COMM-website/media/Documents/FRANK-Report-1-10-Web-Ready-(Large)_1.pdf (March 24, 2021).

    [61] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates 2017; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2013–2017 5-year Estimates.

    [62] See, for example, Martin Prosperity Institute, “Segregated City: The Geography of Economic Segregation in America’s Metros” (2015), available at https://community-wealth.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/report-florida-mellander.pdf (March 24, 2021).

    [63] Sellers and Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report.”

    [64] Ibid.

    [65] Columbus Urban League, “Building Futures” (n.d.), available at https://www.cul.org/initiatives/building-futures/ (March 24, 2021).

    [66] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [67] Coconino County, “Workforce Business Plan — Coconino County Local Workforce Area: July 1, 2017 — June 30, 2021” (n.d.), available at https://coconino.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/28016/Workforce-Development-Plan---March-2019?bidId= (March 24, 2021).

    [68] Ibid.

    [69] NACo Analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product Data by County, 2018.

    [70] Coconino County, “Workforce Business Plan — Coconino County Local Workforce Area: July 1, 2017 — June 30, 2021.”

    [71] Coconino County, “Manufacturing Sector Innovations: Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence” (n.d.), available at https://coconino.az.gov/1137/Manufacturing-Sector (March 24, 2021).

    [72] NACo analysis of: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, 2016; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data, 2018; NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials) data, 2016; Census of Governments Data, 2017.

    [73] Jessica Kronstadt, “Health and Economic Mobility” (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2008).

    [74] Ibid.

    [75] Laurie M Anderson, Carolynne Shinn, Mindy T Fullilove, Susan C Scrimshaw, Jonathan E Fielding, Jacques Normand, Vilma G Carande-Kulis, “The effectiveness of early childhood development programs: A systematic review,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 24 (3) (2003): 32–46.

    [76] Ibid.

    [77] Ibid.

    [78] Jennifer Tolbert, Kendal Orgera, and Anthony Damico, “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population” (2020), available at https://www.kff.org/uninsured/issue-brief/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/ (March 24, 2021).

    [79] Ibid.

    [80] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [81] Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action Summary.”

    [82] Ibid.

    [83] Stuart M. Butler, William W. Beach, and Paul L. Winfree, “Pathways to Economic Mobility: Key Indicators” (2008), available at https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/economic_mobility/pewempchartbook12pdf (March 24, 2021).

    [84] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [85] NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

    [86] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

    [87] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE), 2018.

    [88] See, for example, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Primary Care Visits Available to Most Uninsured but at a Higher Price” (2015), available at https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/primary-care-visits-available-to-most-uninsured-but-at-a-high-price.html (December 9, 2020).

    [89] Pinellas County Human Services, “Pinellas County Health Program” (n.d.), available at http://www.pinellascounty.org/humanservices/healthprogram.htm (March 26, 2021).

    [90] Ibid.

    [91] Florida Association of Counties, “Charter County Information” (n.d.), available at https://www.fl-counties.com/charter-county-information (March 26, 2021).

    [92] Sellers and Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report.”

    [93] Ibid.

    [94] Pinellas County, “COVID-19 Spending Report” (2021), available at https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/covid-19-spending-report/ (March 26, 2021).

    [95] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

    [96] Ibid.

    [97] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Economic Mobility of the States” (2012).

    [98] Chetty and others, “Where is the Land of Opportunity?” Commuting zones are aggregations of counties similar to metropolitan statistical areas but which include rural areas and cover the entire nation.

    [99] Ibid.

    [100] Ibid.

    [101] Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence F. Katz, “The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment,” American Economic Review 106 (4) (2016): 855–902.

    [102] Ibid.

    [103] Chetty and Hendren, “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I.”

    [104] Rodney Andrews and others, “Location Matters: Historical Racial Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility,” Economics Letters 158 (2017): 67–72.

    [105] Sean Rusnak, “How an Insufficient Public Transportation System Decelerates Economic Mobility” (2019), available at https://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/insufficient-public-transportation-decelerates-economic-mobility/ (March 26, 2021).

    [106] Ibid.

    [107] Ibid.

    [108] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [109] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

    [110] Margery Austin Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action” (Washington D.C.: Urban Institute, 2020).

    [111] Ibid.

    [112] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [113] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

    [114] Ibid.

    [115] Virginia’s Legislative Information System, “Virginia Law,” available at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/15.2-2223/ (March 31, 2021).

    [116] Ibid.

    [117] Loudoun County, “Loudoun County 2019 Countywide Transportation Plan” (2019), available at https://www.loudoun.gov/DocumentCenter/View/152287/CTP---Combined-with-small-maps-bookmarked (March 26, 2021).

    [118] Ibid.

    [119] Ibid.

    [120] Ibid.

    [121] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [122] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019. NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

    [123] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [124] Choose Erie, “Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership” (n.d.), available at www.chooseerie.com (March 26, 2021).

    [125] Ibid.

    [126] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [127] Hennepin County, “Transit Oriented Development” (n.d.), available at https://www.hennepin.us/sitecore/content/economic-development/programs/transit-oriented-development (March 26, 2021).

    [128] Ibid.

    [129] Ibid.

    [130] NACo Analysis of: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Census of Jail Facilities Data, 2013; Census of Governments Data, 2017; U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

    [131] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

    [132] Lauren Tara LaCapra, “What going to jail does to your finances” Splinter News, July 9, 2015, available at https://splinternews.com/what-going-to-jail-does-to-your-finances-1793850560 (March 26, 2021).

    [133] https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2010/collateralcosts1pdf.pdf

    [134] Amy Sheppard and Rosemary Ricciardelli, “Employment After Prison: Navigating Conditions of Precarity and Stigma” (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, 2020).

    [135] Chetty and others, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective.”

    [136] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [137] Volunteers of America Oregon, “Reentry Enhancement Coordination” (n.d.), available at https://www.voaor.org/find-services/reentry-and-transition/reentry-enhancement-coordination/ (March 26, 2021).

    [138] State of Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, “Offender Reentry Programs Preliminary Evaluation” (2011), available at https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/CJC%20Document%20Library/reentry_eval_final.pdf (March 26, 2021).

    [139] Ibid.

    [140] State of Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, “Short Term Transitional Leave Program in Oregon” (2019), available at https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/CJC%20Document%20Library/2019STTLReport.pdf (March 26, 2021).

    [141] Worksource Oregon Employment Department, SE Works NewStart Reentry Resource Center, available at https://seworks.org/newstart/.

    [142] Amy L. Solomon and others, “From Prison to Work: The Employment Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry - A Report of the Reentry Roundtable” (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2004).

    [143] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [144] See the Council of State Governments Justice Center, “After the Sentence, More Consequences: A National Report of Barriers to Work” (2021), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/publications/after-the-sentence-more-consequences/ (March 26, 2021); The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “Laying the Groundwork: How States Can Improve Access to Continued Education for People in the Criminal Justice System” (2020), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/publications/laying-the-groundwork/ (March 26, 2021) and Mark T. Berg and Beth M. Huebner, “Reentry and the Ties that Bind: An Examination of Social Ties, Employment, and Recidivism,” Justice Quarterly 28 (2) (2011): 382-410.

    [145] The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “The Second Chance Act: Background” (2018), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/July-2018_SCA_factsheet.pdf (March 26, 2021).

    [146] Tara O'Neill Hayes, “The Economic Costs of the U.S. Criminal Justice System” (Washington, D.C.: American Action Forum, 2020).

    [147] Pew Research Center, “Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet” (2019), available at https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/ (March 26, 2021).

    [148] Ibid.

    [149] National Association of Counties, “NACo Broadband Task Force” (n.d.), available at https://www.naco.org/naco-broadband-task-force (March 26, 2021).

    [150] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [151] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates.

    [152] Arthur Scott, “Understanding the True State of Connectivity in America” (Washington, D.C.: National Association of Counties, 2020).

    [153] Northwest Commission, “Community Technology Action Plan” (2017), available at https://broadband.eriecountypa.gov/pdf/NWPA-Connected-Plan-Final.pdf (March 26, 2021).

    [154] Ibid.

    [155] Erie County Broadband Initiative, “Mission” (n.d.), available at https://broadband.eriecountypa.gov/#sectionMission (March 26, 2021).

    [156] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [157] Columbia Telecommunications Corporation, “Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study: Prepared for Multnomah County, Oregon” (2020), available at https://multco.us/file/92615/download (March 26, 2021).

    [158] Ibid.

    [159] Ibid.

    [160] First National Bank of Omaha, “Study: 53% of U.S. Adults Don’t Have Emergency Fund” (2020), available at https://www.fnbo.com/insights/2020/newsroom/fnbo-releases-2020-financial-planning-survey/index.html (March 26, 2021).

    [161] Shawn M. Carter, “Here’s How Many More Americans Are Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck since the Covid Pandemic Started” (2020), available at https://grow.acorns.com/americans-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-during-covid/ (March 26, 2021).

    [162] Anne Tergesen and Heather Gillers, “U.S. Retirement Crisis Hits Black Americans Hard” The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2021, available at https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-retirement-crisis-hits-black-americans-hard-11613989981?mod=hp_lead_pos5 (March 26, 2021).

    [163] Karen Kavanaugh, “A Decade After Economic Crisis, Many Families Continue to Struggle” (2018), available at https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/10/09/a-decade-after-economic-crisis-many-families-continue-to-struggle (March 26, 2021).

    [164] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience” (2020).

    [165] Grawe, “Education and Economic Mobility.”

    [166] Kaisa Snellman and others, “The Engagement Gap: Social Mobility and Extracurricular Participation among American Youth” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 657 (1) (2014): 194-207.

    [167] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience.”

    [168] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [169] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2014–2018 (Table B19049).

    [170] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers” (2020).

    [171] Foundation for Child Development, “History” (n.d.), available at https://www.fcd-us.org/about-us/history/ (March 26, 2021).

    [172] Garrett County Community Action Committee, “2-Generation (2-G)” (n.d.), available at https://www.garrettcac.org/index.php/early-childhood-dev/2-generation-2g (March 26, 2021).

    [173] Ibid.

    [174] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers.”

    [175] Garrett County Community Action Committee, “2-G Success Stories” (n.d.), available at https://www.garrettcac.org/index.php/early-childhood-dev/2-generation-2g/124-family-development/2-generation-2g/372-2-g-success (March 26, 2021).

    [176] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers.”

    [177] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [178] Bank on South Alabama, available at bankonsouthalabama.org (March 26, 2021).

    [179] Ibid.

    [180] Federal Reserve, “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 - May 2019” (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2019).

    [181] Connect, “Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who They Are and How They Differ” (2020), available at https://www.microbiltconnect.com/article/Unbanked-vs-Underbanked-Who-they-are-and-how-they-differ (March 26, 2021).

    [182] Ibid.

    [183] Mobile County, “HOME Investments Partnership” (n.d.), available at https://www.mobilecountyal.gov/grants/assisted-home-program/ (March 26, 2021).

    [184] Ibid.

    [185] Ibid.

    [186] Ibid.

    [187] Ibid.

    [188] Ibid.

    [189] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience.”

    [190] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

    [191] NACo Analysis of National Center for Economic Statistics (NCES) - Common Core Data (CCD), Elementary and Secondary Information System (ELSi), 2017.

    [192] Bernalillo County Community Services, “What is a Community School?” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/what-is-a-community-school-.aspx (March 26, 2021).

    [193] Bernalillo County Community Services, “ABC Community School Partnership Fact Sheet” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/news.aspx?f50e29bf166542cbb6963e258ca152b9blogPostId=047b67e795da42b882b38591ffb8d997#/BlogContent (March 26, 2021).

    [194] Coalition for Community Schools, “School Details” (n.d.), available at http://www.communityschools.org/mapdetails.aspx?iid=26 (March 26, 2021).

    [195] Ibid.

    [196] American Federation of Teachers, “Community Schools: Case Studies of What Works” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/uploads/files/Community%20Schools%20AFT.pdf (March 26, 2021).

    [197] Bernalillo County Community Services, “New Report Shows Deep Impact of ABC Community School Partnership” (2018), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/news.aspx?f50e29bf166542cbb6963e258ca152b9blogPostId=e541ee305145414699e7f24c50cc7b19#/BlogContent (March 26, 2021).

    [198] Ibid.

    [199] Bernalillo County Community Services, “ABC Community School Partnership Fact Sheet.”

    [200] Coalition for Community Schools, “Coalition for Community Schools, “School Details.”

    County governments hold unique powers and authorities to foster economic mobility, especially in seven key policy areas.
    2021-08-30
    Reports & Toolkits
    2022-07-15

Introduction: Counties advance economic mobility across seven key issue areas

County governments play an instrumental role in building the economic resilience and vitality of communities and supporting the economic wellbeing of residents. Community characteristics such as quality housing supply and safe and navigable neighborhoods, services like public health programs, early childhood education and workforce development training for jobseekers, connectivity to the marketplace through technology and information, are all local factors that support the economic mobility of individuals and families. Counties and county leaders are uniquely positioned as changemakers through local authorities and duties to have a direct impact on each of these and more.

Economic mobility is a highly local, connective and relational issue.

In the United States, the concept of economic mobility centers around the ideal that each generation can do better than the last. Local conditions, community characteristics and even power and autonomy can affect opportunities for individuals’ long-term economic success; these aspects can be shaped by local policies.1 That is, economic mobility is a highly local, connective and relational issue.2 Because counties have power and authority to impact factors and conditions that influence long-term economic outcomes and boost upward mobility, county leaders can benefit from a comprehensive understanding of economic mobility and the intersections of related issues.

This report focuses on the underlying elements of economic mobility and identifies how county leaders can use local power and authority to leverage county policy, planning and service delivery as levers to foster upward mobility for residents. This report includes a conceptual overview of economic mobility and a discussion of the roles, responsibilities and authorities of county governments. Also featured in this report are several case studies highlighting the various ways counties are using these levers to develop community-based approaches to promote successful economic outcomes for residents.

The case studies in this report feature members of NACo’s Economic Mobility Leadership Network (EMLN), a cohort of county leaders that examines the range of complex issues that comprise economic mobility, including housing and food insecurity and an overall lack of opportunity.

Drivers of Economic Mobility

Click to Jump to Section

Jump

Housing

Go to section

Education & Workforce Development

Go to section

Health

Go to section

Community & Neighborhood Development

Go to section

Justice & Public Safety

Go to section

Technology & Information Access

Go to section

Financial Security

Go to section

Understanding economic mobility

Defining economic mobility

Economic mobility: At a glance

Economic mobility refers to changes in people’s economic outcomes or status over a lifetime or across generations — usually measured in income. Simply put, economic mobility examines people’s movement up and down the economic ladder over a lifetime. However, economic mobility is a multi-faceted concept. In one regard, economic mobility can be understood as comparing an individual’s income as an adult relative to their parent’s or grandparent’s income (previous generations) — that is, inter-generational mobility. Alternatively, economic mobility can encompass looking at how groups of people, or generations move up and down the economic ladder over time, that is, it examines changes in an individual’s income over their life — also known as intra-generational mobility.

Inter-and intra-generational mobility can be measured based on absolute or relative differences. Absolute mobility examines individuals' upward and downward changes in their income over time that is, absolute mobility evaluates actual financial progress. On the other hand, relative mobility examines how individuals rank in the income distribution (or ladder) over their lifetime and in comparison to their peers (other individuals within a generation) or their parents. For example, an application of this measure includes examining whether the share of individuals born in the bottom fifth (or quintile) of the income ladder remain at the bottom as adults or rank higher in the income distribution. Each of these concepts tells a different story about people's lifetime economic outcomes.

Emerging research outlines the variety of factors (or drivers) that influence economic mobility, such as a parent’s level of income, social or peer connections, neighborhood quality, education, housing and financial security or institutions including family, tax systems and labor markets. While the relationships between economic mobility and these factors point out likeness among areas with similar rates of mobility and should not necessarily be understood as causal effects, the factors stand out as key elements in research and policy discussions.

Simply put, economic mobility examines people’s movement up and down the economic ladder over a lifetime.

Economic Opportunity In and Across the United States

Economic Mobility: Key research findings

  1. In the United States, absolute mobility has fallen over time while relative mobility has remained constant.5 Over the past half century, absolute mobility fell sharply in the United States. The proportion of children earning more than their parents fell from nearly 90 percent for children born in 1940 to about 50 percent for those born in the 1980s. On the other hand, the gap between the average income percentiles for children born in lower-income versus higher-income families has remained relatively constant, emphasizing the influence of a parent’s income on their child’s income prospect.
  2. The United States is behind other advanced economies in terms of upward mobility.6 Though there are areas in the United States where relative mobility rates are higher than those in peer countries, the United States overall ranks lower than many other major industrialized economies when it comes to prospects of making it from a childhood in poverty to an adulthood in affluence. That is, children from poor families have a difficult time moving from the bottom to the top of the income ladder.

  3. Intergenerational mobility varies greatly within the United States.7 For example, at the regional level, children who grew up in the Southeast have lower relative mobility levels compared to children who grew up in the Mountain West and the rural Midwest.9 Similarly, children from families in Charlotte, N.C. at the bottom quintile of the income distribution (low-income families) are 4.4 percent likely to reach the top quintile, in contrast to a 12.9 percent likelihood for children from San Jose, Calif.10 The likelihood of a child moving from the bottom to the top of the income ladder is three times larger for those growing up in San Jose compared to those growing up in Charlotte. The presence of geographical differences in both relative mobility and absolute mobility suggests location shapes mobility.11 Equally important, the similarity in the patterns of geographical differences in both relative mobility and absolute mobility suggests that places with higher relative mobility levels also have better absolute economic outcomes for children from low-income families.12

  4. A child's neighborhood environment affects their economic future.13 A “good” neighborhood, in the context of upward mobility, is one that produces better outcomes for children. Neighborhoods impact children’s long-term outcomes through childhood exposure effects – that is, for every additional year a child spends growing up in an area with high-upward-mobility (or an area where the permanent resident income is high), the child’s income in adulthood increases accordingly.14 Additionally, if children move to a better neighborhood earlier in their childhood, the effects on their income as adults are larger.

  5. Racial and ethnic disparities are evident when examining differences in economic mobility rates across generations.15 Despite increased opportunities for communities of color in the United States, there are large and persistent gaps in socioeconomic outcomes (i.e., opportunity, education, income and wealth) across racial and ethnic groups, especially between Black and white communities.16 Black and Indigenous children are less likely to move up the economic ladder and downward mobility – moving down from a position of economic advantage – is much higher among them than other groups.17 Black children from a high-income family are almost as likely to fall to the bottom income group as they are to remain in the top income group.18

County Authority and Levers in Economic Mobility

Overview: County Role, Authority and Levers in Economic Mobility

Counties provide essential services to over 300 million residents in communities across the nation while balancing numerous administrative responsibilities. Counties are responsible for operating and maintaining transportation and infrastructure systems, operating local health systems, providing emergency response, coordinating elections and providing core social assistance services from early childhood development to elder care. Counties also coordinate and facilitate a wide range of economic and community development programs, from business incentives and retention to workforce development and community revitalization. Furthermore, counties execute such programs in partnership with nonprofits, the private sector and other interested government entities.

Counties derive authority from the state, which includes the power to create budgets, levy taxes, issue bonds, create public corporations to fund county programs, provide services and perform numerous other tasks related to the operation of the county government. Within the authority granted by the state, most counties can enact policies (e.g., passing ordinances or resolutions), enact or administer programs and enter partnerships or interlocal agreements with nonprofits or other counties and municipalities.

There are two basic types of governing authority for counties: Dillon’s Rule and Home Rule.19 Under Dillon’s Rule, counties only have powers granted to them by the state and can only take actions expressly implied in state legislation including changes to the government structure, function, fiscal organization or passing any law or ordinance not specifically permitted under existing state legislation. On the other hand, under Home Rule, states grant counties or municipalities, through their constitutions or statutes, authority that includes local autonomy or self-determination.20 Thus, Home Rule counties have greater control over local affairs than Dillon’s Rule counties and often govern based on the preferences of residents. Such counties can pass laws to govern themselves as necessary and have more flexibility in altering government structure (such as increasing the size of their legislative body), providing additional services, creating special districts, entering interlocal agreements and adjusting revenues and expenditures.

In the context of economic mobility, levers are tools which county governments can wield to help residents move up the economic ladder. They include broad categories of policy and decision-making powers, enacting or administering programs and forming partnerships. The power to enact change is tied to the county’s authority to perform duties in the structural, functional and fiscal domains of operations. When it comes to economic mobility, county levers can include allocating dollars to fund critical human services programs, policy resolutions or ordinances to meet the needs of underserved communities and populations and forming impactful partnerships to better serve the needs of local communities. Counties can leverage these tools within their authority to help millions of residents move up the economic ladder.

Local leaders operate within varying degrees of authority to enact mobility solutions.

Housing: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

Housing is the backbone of economic development for communities. Without safe and affordable housing, businesses are less likely to attract workers, hindering the economic well-being of the community. Children who have access to stable and affordable housing have a healthy cognitive development, and families gain access to improved educational opportunities, well-paying jobs, workforce training and resources to improve their financial well-being.21 Counties play a critical role in meeting this crucial need for residents and businesses alike, investing nearly $13 billion annually in housing and community development.22 Counties impact housing supply through community planning, land use, zoning and other regulations. Additionally, counties invest in housing support services for individuals with disabilities, low-income populations, veterans and those experiencing homelessness.

Children who have access to stable and affordable housing have a healthy cognitive development, and families gain access to improved educational opportunities, well-paying jobs, workforce training and resources to improve their financial well-being.

Many residents struggle with housing challenges, spending large portions of their monthly income on housing. In 2019, cost-burdened residents, those that spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing alone, comprised nearly half (46 percent) of renters and over one fifth (21 percent) of homeowners.23 This affordable housing issue inhibits a resident’s ability to accumulate wealth (a key driver that enables families to change their economic status). Low-income residents, as well as Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaskan Native households, disproportionately face these housing affordability challenges.24 Furthermore, households of color form a disproportionately large percentage of renters, further illustrating the challenge counties face in ensuring equitable access to affordable housing for all residents.25

Depending on state statute, a county may have different tools available to support housing. Some counties can raise taxes and fees to invest funds into housing, either directly or through a housing trust fund. For counties unable to allocate funding to housing due to either state law or a strict budget, many levers exist in the realm of planning and zoning. More specifically, counties with this authority can include a housing element in their comprehensive plans, conduct housing needs analyses or require affordable housing impact statements from developers. Many counties can also leverage zoning regulations to make housing more affordable, such as reducing lot size requirements or designating areas for medium-density housing or provide incentives – such as density bonuses – for developers to build more affordable units. Other counties may have authority over the permitting and review processes, such as to streamline them or to reduce fees. Finally, counties may have the ability to partner with other local jurisdictions (see Waukesha County, Wis. case study), community organizations or businesses to pool resources, garner residents support and develop regional strategies for addressing housing affordability (see Palm Beach County, Fla. case study).

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Housing:

Workforce Housing Program in Palm Beach County, Fla.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 1.5M
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 717k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $75.6B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $63.3k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
  • Sources: See endnote 26.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • Cross-county department partnership
  • Support and encourage the development of affordable housing units for eligible households
  • County match for the statewide Low Income Housing Tax Credits program
Community Impacts
  • More than 90 residential development housing projects as of 2021
  • Within the housing projects, 13 percent of total units are reserved for eligible households
  • Residents of color comprise the largest share of WHP beneficiaries — that is, 47 percent are Black, and 35 percent are Hispanic
Overview

​In October 2019, Palm Beach County, the third-largest county in Florida, launched the Securing Our Future Initiative. This collaborative effort aims to reduce poverty in Palm Beach County and create pathways to economic mobility for families with children living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The county also created an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that all county programs, including the Securing Our Future Initiative, are equitable.27 The initiative highlights housing as one of the eight domains most pertinent to economic mobility, particularly as the county faces significant housing challenges like many other coastal counties. In 2017, 32 percent of Palm Beach County homeowners and 60 percent of renters were cost-burdened, both rates well above the national averages.28

Palm Beach County adopted a Home Rule charter and therefore has relatively high autonomy over local affairs. The county can deploy a broad range of housing policy tools to promote economic mobility under Florida State law. These tools include: (1) making ordinances and directing expenditures to increase affordable housing within the county, (2) issuing bonds to fund affordable housing development, and (3) instituting interlocal agreements with other counties, cities, the state and federal government.29 In 2004, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance No. 2004-027 to create the county’s Workforce Housing Program (WHP) in the countywide Comprehensive Plan. This program is a partnership between the county's Department of Planning, Zoning and Building and the Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability and is mandatory for all developments in the county's unincorporated areas through land development codes. The program requires developments to designate a percentage of their residential units to the needs of households whose income falls between 60 and 140 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).

Outcomes

As of 2021, more than 90 housing projects in Palm Beach County are subject to the WHP. Also, the program requires more than 2,400 WHP units (13 percent of total units), half of which are either built or under development. The greatest beneficiaries of the WHP are racial and ethnic minorities; among all the workforce unit occupants, 47 percent are Black, and 35 percent are Hispanic. Additionally, the program received $9.1 million in-lieu fees from developers who opted to a buyout of the mandatory workforce unit requirements. Some of this revenue provides down payment assistance for WHP unit purchasers.

In addition to the WHP, Palm Beach County also provides local match for the statewide Low Income Housing Tax Credits program targeting multifamily developers. Additionally, the Palm Beach County Housing Finance Authority – a dependent special district of Palm Beach County created pursuant to state statutes – offers through lending institutions second mortgage loans and non-repayable assistance grants for qualified home purchases and issues loans and tax-exempt bonds for the development or acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing units. Through these policies and programs, Palm Beach County provides a great example of leveraging granted powers to foster upward mobility by providing stable and affordable homes for residents. Specifically, residents can accumulate savings over lowered housing costs and connect to quality education and employment opportunities, allowing them to climb the income ladder.

For more information, see:

The HOME Consortium in Waukesha County, Wis.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 406.2k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 220.5k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $28B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $87.3k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Professional & Business Services; Wholesale Trade
  • Sources: See endnote 30.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • Multi-county housing consortium
  • Expand homeownership opportunities and maintain current housing stock
  • Consortium programs include down payment assistance for homebuyers and low-interest housing rehabilitation loans
  • Consortium leverages federal funding to tackle regional housing affordability issues
Community Impacts
  • Provided down payment assistance to over 55 families buying their first home
  • As of 2017, 25 families participated in the Housing Rehabilitation program and 16 families participated in the Purchase Rehabilitation program
Overview

Wisconsin counties have administrative Home Rule authority, which provides some flexibility. However, state legislation limits these county powers to administrative and organizational functions. Under state law, Wisconsin counties can form partnerships with the state, other counties, and municipalities for various projects, including acquisition, development, remodeling, construction, operation and maintenance of land, buildings, and facilities, among other things. Waukesha County, Wis. leveraged these granted powers to partner with neighboring counties to tackle housing affordability issues in the region. In 1998, Waukesha County, serving as the lead entity, joined together with neighboring counties Jefferson and Washington to establish the HOME Consortium (later joined by Ozaukee County). In this case study, Consortium refers to the HOME Consortium. Empowered by a formal resolution adopted by nearly all the municipalities within the participating counties, a 12-member board of directors comprising elected representatives from all four counties governs the Consortium.

The Consortium's principal goals include advancing homeownership opportunities and maintaining the quality of existing housing stock. In pursuit of these goals, the Consortium operates three core programs that provide support to eligible families. They include a homeownership assistance program, a homeowner purchase or rehab program and a home rehabilitation assistance program. Under these programs, the Consortium offers down payment assistance for homebuyers and low-interest housing rehabilitation loans to residents that earn 80 percent or less of the area's median household income.

Outcomes

The Consortium funds programs with an annual federal allocation of about $1,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to address affordable housing issues.31 The housing development fund, another program created by the Consortium, is a fund that assists with the construction of affordable housing in the four counties. HUD requires each participating jurisdiction in the Consortium to set aside at least 15 percent of its funding for Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). CHDOs are entities through which jurisdictions can provide decent, affordable housing to low-income households in a specific area or community, but not the entire state.

The Consortium’s programs have supported many families. In 2017, 55 families received down payment assistance for their first home; 25 families participated in the Housing Rehabilitation program; and 16 families participated in the Purchase Rehabilitation program.32 The Consortium is an example of how counties can use partnership-forming powers to foster upward mobility within communities.

For more information, make sure to check out:

Moderate Income Housing Unit Program in Howard County, Md.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 328.2k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 184.5k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.2%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $25B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $121.2k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Wholesale Trade
  • Sources: See endnote 33.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • Addresses affordable housing issues, especially among moderate to low-income residents
  • Program requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to rent a portion of the units to eligible households
  • Under the program, households do not spend more than 33 percent of their income on housing-related costs
Community Impacts
  • Steady growth in rental inventory, 600 units as of Fiscal Year 2019
  • Expanded on local affordable housing incentive strategies by launching a down payment loan program to support homebuyers in the community
Overview

Howard County is a medium-sized county located in central Maryland.34 The county is one of the state’s geographically smallest – occupying approximately 250 square miles – and one of the nation’s wealthiest – with a median household income of nearly $118,000.35 Like many other counties across the nation, Howard County is facing housing affordability challenges. Nearly half of renters in the county (45 percent) are cost-burdened, six percentage points below the national average of 51 percent.36

The county launched its Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Rental and Ownership programs to address affordable housing issues, especially among moderate to low-income residents, such as teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, hospital workers and service workers.37 The MIHU Rental Program requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to rent a portion of the dwelling units (typically 10 to 20 percent) to moderate-income households. The purpose of this affordability program is to balance the cost of living in a rental unit against the household's annual income. The intent is that a household should not spend more than 33 percent of its income on expenses related to the rental unit. First adopted in 1996, the MIHU Rental program has steadily grown its rental inventory to 600 units as of Fiscal Year 2019.

Outcomes

In addition to the renter program, the county also implemented the Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Ownership Program and the related Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP) as two initiatives to help address the growing affordability needs for homebuyers in the community. The MIHU Ownership program requires developers of new housing in targeted zoning areas to sell a portion of their units to moderate-income households at a reduced price based on county code. Nearly half of the homebuyers in the MIHU Ownership program also need settlement down payment assistance. As a result, the SDLP program has become a vital component to the success of the MIHU program. Developers seeking alternative compliance to the MIHU program can request to pay a fee-in-lieu for each unit in a development project in certain situations and specific zones. The revenue collected from the fee-in-lieu funds the SDLP loans. As of Fiscal Year 2019, the MIHU Ownership program placed 287 moderate income families in homes.38

Local governments in Maryland have strong planning and zoning authorities. The state establishes comprehensive plans, but the counties manage specifics such as reviewing, updating and adopting the plan in whole or in part. Howard County adopted its Home Rule charter in 1968, which includes the authority to control zoning. The Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development administers all housing initiatives in the county, including the MIHU Programs. The department uses funds from a portion of the county's overall transfer tax (12.5 percent) and all fee-in-lieu revenue to create, rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing in Howard County.39

For more information, make sure to check out:

Education & Workforce Development: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

Education

Education is a key element to success as it helps break the cycle of poverty and inequality and fosters mobility in current and future generations. In the United States, the structure of the education system can be viewed as having three levels of formal education, that is, elementary (including prekindergarten and kindergarten), secondary and postsecondary. Each of these levels of education contributes to ensuring that individuals have the chance to move up the economic ladder across generations. Though the role of counties in education varies by state, education is the third largest source of expenditures for counties nationwide. In 2017, counties invested $103 billion in education, which includes the construction and maintenance of public-school buildings and support of higher education institutions, such as community colleges.40

Education helps break the cycle of poverty and inequality, fostering mobility in current and future generations.

Access to a high-quality education is a key determinant of child-related outcomes.41 People with access to quality and higher levels of education are more likely to be healthier and live longer.42 Furthermore, individuals with post-secondary education credentials have access to increased employment opportunities and are likely to earn higher wages and experience better health outcomes than those without post-secondary education training.43 In addition, investing in early childhood education reduces the need for more expensive interventions later and produces higher returns.44 County programs and investments expand young children’s access to high-quality services and support which promote healthy development of the cognitive and socioemotional capabilities that are crucial to generating economic success as adults. Such programs include early care and education, home visiting, perinatal services, parenting classes and centralized intake and referral systems. For example, Tarrant County, Texas offers a comprehensive developmental screening program for infants and toddlers through a public-private partnership to increase the early detection of developmental delays in children (see Tarrant County, Texas case study).

In some cases, counties support early childhood efforts through administering federal childcare programs, though they are primarily regulated at the state level.45 In at least eight states, county governments are responsible for administering the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).46 Counties also play a significant role in licensing childcare providers, offering childcare assistance to low-income residents, referring families to childcare resources and providing local funding to help build the supply of childcare.47 For example, Franklin County, Ohio administers the state’s publicly funded childcare program (supported by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF). Franklin County also funds free training for childcare providers in the county.

County programs and investments expand young children’s access to high-quality services and support which promote healthy development of the cognitive and socioemotional capabilities that are crucial to generating economic success as adults.

In the context of K-12 public education, counties in some states fund the public education system. In most instances, a separate elected board of education in each county works with the state’s department of education to operate, administer and manage the public education system. County leaders also play a role in post-secondary education, including making direct allocation of local funds, participating in decision-making boards and bodies and coordinating various local, state and federal resources to improve educational outcomes for residents.48

Workforce Development

Counties either directly provide, through county-based human services agencies, or partner with post-secondary education institutions and community-based organizations to provide workforce development and employment services such as vocational and on-the-job training services that boost the skills of residents.

Workforce development is another key driver of upward economic mobility. Workforce development increases human capital – knowledge and skills – of individuals that help prepare them for better employment opportunities. Such interventions are critical for improving intragenerational mobility particularly for workers in low-wage occupations and those displaced from the labor market due to skills mismatch or lack of access to jobs that do not require a college degree.49 Counties either directly provide, through county-based human services agencies, or partner with post-secondary education institutions and community-based organizations to provide workforce development and employment services such as vocational and on-the-job training services that boost the skills of residents. For example, the career office of Coconino County, Ariz. is implementing several initiatives to create a youth talent pipeline, engage key partners in their workforce system and develop employment and educational training programs (see Coconino County, Ariz. case study). These strategies, coupled with contributions to education, can enhance post-secondary enrollment and graduation rates and expand opportunities for stable, high-quality jobs.

In other cases, counties act as key conveners of stakeholders, partnering with private sector organizations, nonprofits and municipal, state and the federal government to offer workforce development programs and services.

In other cases, counties act as key conveners of stakeholders, partnering with private sector organizations, nonprofits and municipal, state and the federal government to offer workforce development programs and services. Franklin County, Ohio works with the Columbus Urban League, a local civil rights nonprofit, and a regional construction trades council to recruit low-income, TANF eligible residents – particularly men of color – to participate in a 12-week pre-apprenticeship program in construction trades. This program offers soft and hard skills training and places participants in different local apprenticeships upon program completion (see Franklin County, Ohio case study).

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Education and Workforce Development:

Infant Toddler Developmental Screening Initiative (ITDSI) in Tarrant County, Texas

  • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 2.1M
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 1.1M
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.3%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $106.8B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $67.7k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Professional & Business services
  • Sources: See endnote 50.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • Community partnership
  • Supports early childhood developmental screenings
  • Coordinates a referral system
Community Impacts
  • Over 83,000 infants and toddlers served across the county
  • Sets children on a path for school readiness and long-term economic self-sufficiency
Overview

Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Tarrant County is the third largest county in Texas, with over 2.1 million residents.51 The county has a civilian labor force of just over 1 million workers and its unemployment rate stood at 3.3 percent before the pandemic.52 The Tarrant County median household income is higher than the national median.53 However, more than 109,000 children live in high poverty areas – that is, areas with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more – within the county.54 The county’s 13.9 percent child poverty rate is slightly lower than the national rate.55

Counties play a role in shaping the well-being and the path of economic success of the youngest residents by administering comprehensive early childhood systems and maintaining high-quality learning environments that stimulate growth and development.

Early childhood is a critical phase in one’s lifetime as early childhood experiences establish the foundation for an individual’s success, self-sufficiency and well-being later in life. This phase is fundamental to a child’s developmental well-being due to the potential for growth, and vulnerability to risk factors that can harm a child’s physical health, cognition and social-emotional skills.56 These risk factors can be biological (e.g., premature birth, low birthweight) or related to the one’s socio-economic environment (e.g., poverty, housing instability, family structure or relationship with caregivers).57

The county recognized a need for a coordinated system to support healthy development and strengthen the school readiness of the 83,000 infants and toddlers within its community.

Outcomes

Counties play a role in shaping the well-being and the path of economic success of the youngest residents by administering comprehensive early childhood systems and maintaining high-quality learning environments that stimulate growth and development. Early childhood interventions such as developmental screenings – which allow for the identification of possible health or developmental problems in infants and young children – are an important tool to guarantee children are on target for a healthy development ensuring their success later in life. An example of a county developmental screening program is the Infant Toddler Developmental Screening Initiative (ITDSI) developed by Tarrant County. The county recognized a need for a coordinated system to support healthy development and strengthen the school readiness of the 83,000 infants and toddlers within its community. Tarrant County partnered with the Early Learning Alliance and the Infant Health Network to form the ITDSI. The initiative's goal is to implement a robust developmental screening and referral system that will increase the early detection of developmental delays. The information gathered from the new system enables the county to provide children with the necessary resources and support to improve their education and promote positive long-term economic outcomes. Tarrant County’s Public Health Department supports this initiative by ensuring collaboration between all stakeholders involved and connecting the community’s public health system to early childhood education programs and services.

Early childhood development or intervention programs promote the development of capacities during childhood that are the foundation for school readiness and economic self-sufficiency. These factors correlate with positive education outcomes that translate to higher incomes and success later in life; initiatives such as Tarrant County’s system are an example of how counties can enact programs to improve economic mobility for younger generations within the community.58

For more information, be sure to check out:

Building Futures Program in Franklin County, Ohio

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 1.3M
  • Labor Force (2020): 705.1k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.4%
  • Median Household Income (2019): $61.3k
  • Poverty Rate (2019): 13.5%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $87.8B
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Government & Government Enterprises; Finance & Insurance
  • Sources: See endnote 59.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • County partnership with stakeholders from Central Ohio to create the Rise Together initiative
  • The initiative aims to reduce poverty and outlines several action steps, one of which is the Building Futures project
  • The Building Futures is funded both through federal and county funding
Community Impacts
  • More than 100 participants trained through the Building Futures program since 2017
  • Eighty-eight percent of program participants obtained employment with wages ranging from $15 to $26 per hour, plus full benefits
Overview

For decades, Franklin County, Ohio, the most populous county in the state, has been battling concentrated and persistent poverty. Between 1980 and 2016, 60 percent of census tracts in Franklin County experienced an increase in poverty.60 Additionally, 30 percent of all children live in areas with poverty rates of 20 percent or more.61 The county also suffers from high levels of wealth segregation. The Columbus metro area is one of the most economically segregated regions in the country.62

To mitigate local poverty and improve economic mobility, Franklin County commissioners focused on strengthening local partnerships. The state grants Ohio counties the authority to enter into agreements with other public and private entities and to appropriate funds to nonprofits engaged in promoting economic development.63 In late 2018, the county convened local partners across Central Ohio, leading to the Rise Together blueprint. The blueprint is an organizing framework with 13 goals to reduce poverty in Franklin County and corresponding immediate, short-term and long-term action steps.64 One example of a program outlined in the blueprint is Building Futures, a pre-apprenticeship program that provides low-income Franklin County residents with training in skilled construction trades. The program brings together Franklin County, the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council and the Columbus Urban League. The Building Futures program is funded both through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and by the county general fund. The latter provides wrap-around supportive services that help ensure participants complete the program.

Outcomes

Since Building Futures' inception in 2017, the program has trained more than 100 participants, of which nearly 90 percent are Black. Eighty-five (85) percent of participants graduated, and 88 percent quickly secured employment with starting wages ranging from $15 to $26 per hour plus full benefits.65 Other education and workforce training programs enacted or supported by Franklin County to foster resiliency and upward mobility include Achieve More and Prosper and Columbus Work.

Poverty and economic segregation negatively impact upward mobility. Residents who live in concentrated poverty areas are isolated from resources and networks needed to thrive and achieve successful economic outcomes. Workforce training programs such as Building Futures are one of many ways counties can generate better economic outcomes for residents.

For more information, see:

Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence in Coconino County, Ariz.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 142.5k
  • Labor Force Size (2020): 75.3k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.7%
  • Median Household Income (2019): $ 59.5k
  • County Economic Output (2019): $6.8B
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Manufacturing
  • Sources: See endnote 66.
  • Learn More
Key Program Tenets
  • Partnership between county local workforce board and community partners to create workforce development program
  • Identifies sector-based workforce needs
  • Develops training programs for the workforce with a focus on the youth
  • Supports entrepreneurs and sector-based education
Community Impacts
  • More than 400 individuals trained thus far
  • County is leveraging the success of this program as a framework for how to create more programs through community partnerships
Overview

Located in northern Arizona, Coconino County is the largest county by geographical size in the state. About half of its population resides in the county seat, Flagstaff, with the remaining dispersed around smaller cities, making the county largely rural.67 The county also includes the Havasupai Nation and large parts of the Navajo Nation, Hualapai Nation and Hopi Nation. Indigenous communities make up nearly 30 percent of the county's total population. With six national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, the county is a regional and international tourism hub. Nearly 50 percent of the land within the county boundaries is public land (either owned by the federal government or by the state). The local economy is primarily tourism-based, with tourism and hospitality sectors accounting for over 20 percent of the county workforce opportunities.68

Outcomes

In the multi-year Coconino County Workforce Business Plan, the county examined existing industries in the local economy and identified manufacturing as a key industry for growth. In 2018, the sector accounted for 9.5 percent of the county's economic output69 and employed 8 percent of the county’s workforce.70 The county’s local workforce board decided to target the manufacturing sector to train job seekers and develop partnerships with stakeholders and employers, resulting in the Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence program. Funded by a special grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the county supports the advanced manufacturing sector through this program while emphasizing innovation in bioscience and in green and sustainable practices. Coconino County is collaborating with community partners and employers within the sector to: (1) identify sector-based workforce needs, (2) develop training programs for the emerging workforce (i.e., workshops and internships geared to youth) and (3) support entrepreneurialism and promote education in this sector. Among other accomplishments, 436 individuals received training through this economic and workforce development program, with 57 degrees, credentials and certificates awarded. Additionally, the county has developed relationships with over ten community partners and 25 Advanced Manufacturing companies.71

Coconino County is leveraging its authority to enact programs and build partnerships to (1) develop a youth talent pipeline matched to the local industry's current and future needs, (2) meet ambitious workforce development goals and (3) foster business retention and growth.

For more information, make sure to check out:

Health: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

From running local health departments, providing behavioral and mental health services to developing community health care programs, counties play a direct role in the health and well-being of residents (see Fulton County, Ga. case study). In total, counties invest over $100 billion in community health and hospitals annually.72

Additionally, for children, poor nutrition negatively affects their developmental outcomes, leading to long-lasting impacts on their future economic status.

Discussions of health tend to focus on physical and psychological well-being. Still, health also plays a key role in individuals’ economic outcomes. Studies show that good health, including nutritional diets, access to health insurance and quality healthcare in childhood, can impact an individual’s socioeconomic outcomes in several ways.73 A non-nutritional diet can contribute to serious health conditions, preventing residents from earning a stable income.74 Poor nutrition also negatively affects educational outcomes such as school readiness and performance.75 Additionally, for children, poor nutrition negatively affects their developmental outcomes, leading to long-lasting impacts on their future economic status.76

Good health habits, and access to affordable and quality healthcare are linked to positive socioeconomic outcomes.

Health can also impact one’s economic outcomes through healthcare costs. Thus, health insurance is essential to economic mobility for several reasons (see Pinellas County case study). Those with health insurance are more likely to access medical care to help maintain good physical and mental health and thereby increase economic mobility.77 Hospitals can charge the uninsured more than those with health coverage, leading to medical debt as uninsured individuals pay out of pocket for most of their care.78 Consequently, residents are pushed further down the economic mobility ladder.79

The levers counties can leverage to improve health outcomes in communities and subsequently impact economic mobility vary among jurisdictions. For example, in Georgia, counties partially fund the local public health department and appoint individuals to community health boards. Similarly, each county in Maryland jointly oversees the local public health department. Though in Maryland, these entities are primarily the local arm of the state health department such that the health officer is a joint employee of the county and the state. On the other hand, in the public health arena, Oregon counties serve as the local public health authority and operate without much preemption by state statutes, despite having limited resources.

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Health:

All People Are Healthy Initiative in Fulton County, Ga.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 1.1M
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 557.2k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.0%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $159.9B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $69.7k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Information; Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 80.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Community-focused strategic plan and performance management system
  • Assesses the county’s performance in six priority areas including health
  • The “All People are Healthy program,” under the healthy priority area, focuses on improving community health
Community Impacts
  • Streamlined behavioral health care service delivery model
  • The percentage of clients scheduled to see a licensed professional within two business days increased from 59 percent to 95 percent
Overview

With the support of the Board of Commissioners, the County Executive and various county departments and agencies, Fulton County, Ga. developed a community-focused strategic plan and a performance management system to promote government transparency and assess the county’s performance in six priority areas: health, safety, self-sufficiency, economic opportunity, government trust and cultural enrichment. "All People Are Healthy" is an initiative that supports the health priority area and focuses on improving community health through three key factors: (1) the adoption of healthy behaviors by county residents, (2) the availability and quality of the health care services that residents receive and (3) the physical environment in which residents live, work and play.

Outcomes

Like many counties across the nation, Fulton County plays an important role in community health. Health services within Fulton County are provided independently by several agencies within and outside the authority of the county government. For instance, behavioral health services are provided or coordinated through Fulton County Behavioral Health, Grady Memorial Hospital, Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, Fulton County Courts (through specialty courts) and the Public Defender. As part of the All People Are Healthy initiative, in 2018, the county sought to improve the quality of the behavioral health care services residents receive by streamlining the service delivery model. Under the new model, the county increased the percentage of clients scheduled to see a licensed professional within two business days from 59 percent to 95 percent.

Good physical, emotional and mental health outcomes, alongside quality health services, are key to successful economic outcomes for children and adults.

Good physical, emotional and mental health outcomes, alongside quality health services, are key to successful economic outcomes for children and adults.81 Healthy childhood development supports positive health outcomes later in life. In contrast, poor childhood health can negatively impact educational attainment and adult health.82 For adults, poor health can lead to employment disruptions or limit participation in the labor force and consequently wages, creating a feedback loop.83 County-driven efforts, such as the "All People Are Healthy" initiative, meet the health needs of residents, allowing them to achieve good health outcomes and upward mobility.

For more information, make sure to check out:

Pinellas County Health Program in Pinellas County, Fla.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 976.8k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 484.3k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.0%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $47.9B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $54.1k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Professional & Business Services; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance
  • Sources: See endnote 84.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Provides prevention-focused health care to eligible county residents
  • Collaboration and partnership between county, state and local stakeholders
Community Impacts
  • Serves adult county residents who are uninsured, ineligible for public assistance programs and earn less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Offers primary medical care at no charge to the homeless population
Overview

Pinellas County is a large county on the west coast of Florida in the Tampa Bay area.85 With more than 3,500 people per square mile, the county had the state’s densest population in 2019.86 In 2018, 85 percent of Pinellas County residents under age 65 had health insurance, putting the county among the more medically insured counties in the state.87 Notwithstanding this high rate of coverage, county leaders want to ensure all residents have access to the health care they need.

Lacking health insurance is a significant barrier to upward economic mobility. For low- and even middle-income families, insufficient insurance coverage means a simple doctor’s visit could pose considerable financial challenges.88 To help otherwise uninsured residents access health care, in 2008, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners established the Pinellas County Health Program. The program provides prevention-focused health care to eligible county residents through a partnership between the Pinellas County Human Services, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and the Turley Family Health Center (a local medical group practice).89 Eligible county residents include those that are: uninsured, between the ages of 18 and 64, earn incomes less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and do not qualify for any public assistance program, such as Medicaid and Medicare.90

Outcomes

Pinellas County’s Home Rule Charter, adopted in 1980,91 empowers the county to develop and operate public health and welfare services or facilities within Pinellas County. Like other Florida counties, Pinellas County can enter and execute any lawful contracts within its granted authority. The county can also collaborate with the state department of health to establish a health department that provides primary care, communicable disease services and environmental health services.92 This authority enabled the multiparty partnership that formed the Pinellas County Health Program. Additionally, this authority enabled the county to deliver routine medical care services through Medical Homes – which the county Department of Health provides.93 The Pinellas County Health Program is funded by the county’s general fund.

The county provides similar services for its homeless population. Under the Pinellas County Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Program, the county offers primary medical care at no charge through a fixed location and a mobile medical unit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCH received more than $800,000 in federal COVID relief funds, including some $626,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for supporting the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.94

For more information, see:

Community & Neighborhood Development: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

Across the nation, counties are actively working to make communities better places to live and work. Various aspects of an individual’s life, including education and access to employment opportunities are centered around geography (or place). Since the county is in many areas the closest government to the people, county leaders know the needs of local communities best and where to allocate resources most efficiently. Each year, counties spend over $20 billion on public amenities, including libraries, parks and natural resources.95 County governments also invest nearly $13 billion annually on housing and community development and over $23 billion on transit options for residents.96 Additionally, counties are well-positioned to convene business and community leaders, often forming task forces and other groups to stimulate economic activity and tackle key economic issues (see Erie County, Pa. case study).

It is important to recognize the intersection between geography and an individual’s economic outcomes because: (1) economic mobility is unevenly distributed across the nation and (2) neighborhood characteristics impact key mechanisms that influence an individual’s economic outcomes.

There is substantial geographic variation in economic mobility levels across the nation. At the regional level, many northeastern states have much higher economic mobility levels than many southern states.97 Economic mobility can even vary within regions, such as commuting zones.98 For instance, children from low-income families in Charlotte, N.C. are only 4.4 percent likely to reach the top fifth of the income distribution, contrasted to a 12.9 percent likelihood for children from San Jose, Calif.99

Children's long-term health, well-being and future economic outcomes are impacted by the neighborhood they grow up in.

Neighborhood or community features impact an individual’s economic trajectory.100 Children's long-term health, well-being and future economic outcomes are impacted by the neighborhood they grow up in. Families and children experience significant outcome improvements as they move to high-upward mobility neighborhoods.101 For instance, children from low-income families that move to low-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults.102 In addition, a neighborhood will have a better impact on the children and families living there if it has lower rates of segregation and inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better education (or high quality schools) and more two-parent households.103 This is evidence in the fact that poor intergenerational mobility for Black Americans is driven in part by generations of racial inequality and historical patterns of racial segregation.104

A neighborhood will have a better impact on the children and families living there if it has lower rates of segregation and inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better education (or high quality schools) and more two-parent households.

Counties are working to foster mobility by addressing gaps other neighborhood characteristics such as public parks, recreation facilities and reliable and efficient transit options (see Mercer County, W.Va. case study). Efficient transportation provides access to community resources and amenities that allow individuals or families to improve their economic outcomes (see Hennepin County, Minn. case study). Additionally, high-performing transportation networks dictate accessibility to housing, employment, education and healthcare – all of which influence economic mobility105 (see Loudoun County, Va. case study). Most importantly, public transit allows residents to access community resources and amenities, regardless of their ability to own or operate a personal means of transportation106 (see Nassau County, N.Y. case study). Transportation is the second-largest expense after housing for households in the United States.107

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Community & Neighborhood Development:

Love Where You Live: Keep Mercer Clean Program in Mercer County, W.Va.

  • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 58.3k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 21.0k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.4%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $1.6B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $40.8k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 108.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Established a community cleanup program
  • Program fosters community participation, improves the local environment and educates residents about the importance keeping the county clean
  • The county invests $7,000 annually in the program
Community Impacts
  • Over 1,000 volunteers participate and collect more than 200 tons of trash over a 40-day period each year
  • Inspired the Take Five program to encourage residents to continue community cleanup during the pandemic
Overview

Located in the heart of scenic Appalachia, Mercer County, W.Va. is a medium-sized rural county with over 58,000 residents.109 The county’s economy is largely comprised of retail trade and tourism, among others. The county offers visitors a glimpse into its unique historical heritage and many of opportunities for outdoor activities, including Camp Creek State Park and Forest, Winterplace Ski Resort, Pinnacle Rock State Park and Brush Creek Falls. Nearby Pipestem State Park and the newly named New River Gorge National Park are some of the many outdoor sites in the county that draw tourists annually.

Outcomes

In 2015, Mercer County established the Love Where You Live: Keep Mercer Clean campaign, a community cleanup effort to improve the community environment and educate residents about the importance of keeping the county clean. The county invests only $7,000 annually in the program to cover expenses for supplies and logistics, but with the support of over 1,000 volunteers and local non-profit organizations, the county organizes numerous cleanup projects for properties and homes. As a result of Keep Mercer Clean, the county regularly collects more than 200 tons of trash over a 40-day period through the program with interest and participation steadily increasing.

In addition to the cleanups, the broad-based education campaign for youth is integral to achieving greater success. Coloring books highlighting local tourism sites and the campaign mascot, Rocky, flyers showcasing activities and the need for recycling are a regular part of the efforts. In 2020, to help promote adequate social distancing and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercer County expanded its community improvement campaign with the launch of its Take Five program, an initiative that provides sanitary equipment to residents and encourages them to collect five bags of trash.

Community-based cleanup projects not only address local environmental issues but create safe communities where residents can thrive economically. The Urban Institute’s framework for boosting upward mobility lists supportive communities as one of three broad drivers that propel residents out of poverty and contribute to their lifetime economic success.110 Supportive communities include safe and inclusive neighborhoods that offer good environmental quality, a sense of belongingness to residents, among other characteristics.111 Neighborhood cleanup projects, like Keep Mercer Clean, are one of many local strategies that county leaders can employ to improve environmental conditions which improve residents’ well-being and overall success. These projects also allow county leaders to offer residents opportunities to contribute to their community (a sense of belongingness) and simultaneously foster mobility within communities. The Keep Mercer Clean program allows Mercer County to offer residents meaningful participation in shaping their community while improving the environmental quality in the community.

For more information:

Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) in Loudoun County, Va.

  • County Authority: Dillion’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 422.8k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 223.2k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 5.3%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $25.7B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $142.3k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Information; Professional & Business Services; Government & Government Enterprises
  • Sources: See endnote 112.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Adopted a countywide transportation plan in response to transportation challenges
  • The county coordinates with various regional, state and local stakeholders to implement the plan
  • The county relies on several funding sources, such as local, regional, state, federal and public-private funding sources to finance transportation projects and implement priority transportation improvements
Community Impacts
  • Reconnects neighborhoods cut off by underinvestment
  • Ensures new infrastructure and investments increase racial equity and environmental resilience
  • Efficient transportation systems schools (especially transit-dependent residents) link people to job opportunities
Overview

With more than 413,000 residents and an annual population growth rate of almost 2 percent, Loudoun County is the third largest and the fifth fastest-growing county in the state.113 Located in the northern region of Virginia, the county's population density ranks sixth highest in the state, with over 800 residents per square mile.114 In the past several decades, the county’s growth rate has continued to strain its transportation network. Furthermore, the county continues to see a significant shift in resident preferences for travel mode choice and must plan its transportation system accounting for current preferences and development patterns. The county also operates its own transportation services, including commuter buses, local fixed-route bus service/paratransit services and 22 commuter park-and-ride lots. Direct Metrorail connections to the county are expected to begin operation by 2022.

Generally, under Virginia code, local planning commissions prepare and recommend a comprehensive plan and every governing body adopts the comprehensive plan for its jurisdiction.115 Within these comprehensive plans are transportation plans developed by each locality. These transportation plans offer recommendations and address the transportation infrastructure needs of a locality's system of roadways, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, railways, bridges, waterways, airports, ports, and public transportation facilities.116

Outcomes

In response to transportation challenges, Loudoun County developed and adopted its first Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP) in 1995.117 The county continues to adapt and build upon it to address the community's needs.118 The CTP guides investment for future transportation infrastructure and addresses all transportation modes within the county. The most recent CTP, initiated in the summer of 2016 and implemented in 2019, accommodates planned land use and development through 2040. The plan seeks to (1) provide access and mobility for residents, workers, and visitors; (2) protect and enhance health and safety through design and construction; and (3) promote quality of life by protecting the integrity of the various policy areas and incorporated towns as they relate to the transportation network.119 Throughout the process, the county coordinates with numerous regional, state and local stakeholders. The county relies on various sources of funding to finance transportation projects and implement priority transportation improvements. These funding sources include local funds (i.e., general obligation bonds, local taxes) and regional, state, federal and public-private funding sources (such as proffers).120

Transportation is a key county responsibility and a critical factor that influences residents' economic outcomes.

Transportation is a key county responsibility and a critical factor that influences residents' economic outcomes. Transportation can also impact business location decisions that create more economic opportunities in communities. Additionally, transportation reconnects neighborhoods cut off by underinvestment, ensuring new infrastructure and investments increase racial equity and environmental resilience. By engaging in local transportation planning, Loudoun County ensures the local system promotes equitable economic development by linking people to job opportunities and schools (especially transit-dependent residents), thereby spurring higher upward mobility in the community.

For more information, see:

Micro Transit in Nassau County, N.Y.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 1.4M
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 698.9k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.4%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $84.6B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $116.1k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output: Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
  • Sources: See endnote 121.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Community-based transportation solutions that include a mix of on-demand vehicles
  • Solution operated through a public-private partnership with the Nassau Inter-County Express Bus
Community Impacts
  • Provides access to new transportation options
  • Improves accessibility and transit equity
Overview

Nassau County, N.Y. is a densely populated county in the Long Island region with over 1.3 million residents.122 Benefiting from bountiful business exchanges with New York City and a large labor force, Nassau County has become an innovator in transit.

Transportation access is a key element of economic mobility; access to employment, education and housing options directly correlate with opportunity and outcomes. A pioneer in this territory, Nassau County is one of the first localities in the nation to invest in "micro-transit" pilots. Micro-transit pilots include a series of community-based transportation solutions that include flexible routing and hailed on-demand vehicles made available throughout the county. Micro-transit services allow transit providers, such as local governments, to provide coverage in areas where traditional public transit options are not feasible. Thus, such programs better serve the transit needs of residents by expanding transit coverage in various parts of the community. Nassau County operates the micro-transit program through a public-private partnership with the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) Bus under a long-term transit transformation planned for the county.

Outcomes

Proponents of micro-transit laud this transportation format for improving accessibility and transit equity. Micro transit eliminates transit deserts, especially in places like Nassau County, where many rely on public transportation to commute to work. Nassau County reports that 154,000 low-income residents and 906,000 jobs within easy walking distance of NICE service.

For more information, see:

Choose Erie in Erie County, Pa.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 268.4k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 126.7k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.8%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $10.9B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $51.5k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 123.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Attracts and establishes new businesses, investments and other organizations in the community
  • County plays the role of funder and convener
  • Established partnership with the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership to support project
Community Impacts
  • Provides access to new resources including low-interest financing options
  • Publicly available data dashboard showcasing the county’s economic landscape
Overview

Generally, Pennsylvania counties possess limited authority relating to mobility. Counties can oversee housing authorities, engage in public-private partnerships and, in some instances, even enact zoning policies. Erie County is just one of a handful of Pennsylvania counties with Home Rule status, thus providing additional levers (within the limits of state statute) that Erie County can use to support economic mobility.

Outcomes

In 2016, Erie County initiated the Choose Erie program, which helps attract and establish private and non-profit organizations in the community.124 The initiative leverages many avenues designed to attract business development to the county, including a data dashboard showcasing the economic environment of the county, access to various resources and connections to foster development and low-interest financing options for businesses.125 Erie County works as both a funder and a convener in this initiative, partnering with the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership to support the project.

Business development and expansion are crucial to economic mobility, providing a healthy basis for the local economy.

Business development and expansion are crucial to economic mobility, providing a healthy basis for the local economy. More businesses produce more employment opportunities while establishing a resilient local economy. This strong foundation encourages further investment towards growth and development within the community. The Choose Erie program is just one of many ways Erie County is fostering economic mobility at the local level.

For more information:

Transit-Oriented Development Program in Hennepin County, Minn.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 1.3M
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 710.3k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 6.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $125.8B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $78.2k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Finance & Insurance; Manufacturing
  • Sources: See endnote 126.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Provides grants to incentivize community public transportation developments
  • Supports developers and organizations to rehabilitate developments around transit opportunities
Community Impacts
  • Expanded bike and pedestrian infrastructure and increased development near dense business areas
  • Diversified affordable housing availability near transit areas
  • Creates high paying jobs and investments in infrastructure improvements
Overview

In 2003, Hennepin County, through its Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), embarked upon the Transit-Oriented Development program to provide grants that incentivize community developments close to public transportation.127 The development projects supported by this program include expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure, increasing development density near transit, diversifying housing type and affordability near transit, business space development near transit, investment in pedestrian-friendly designs within the community and investment in enhancing public spaces near transit.128 The program allows Hennepin County to support cities, developers and organizations to create and rehabilitate community developments around transit infrastructure.

Outcomes

One past project of the Transit-Oriented Development program is a grant to the City of Bloomington for upgrades to the sewer system; these upgrades led to well-paying jobs in a high-tech manufacturing company, leveraging $90 million by the business in an expanded clean-room manufacturing hub. This grant-funded project also allowed for sidewalk and lighting improvements to ensure easier access between area businesses and a nearby light-rail transit station.129 Access to public transportation enables individuals to broaden employment prospects by removing some of the limits of proximity for individuals without dependable transportation.

For more information, see:

Justice & Public Safety: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

In the United States, counties play a critical role in administering justice and public safety services. Counties support 91 percent of all local jails, processing 11 million admissions every year; invest $28.7 billion in correctional facilities; and incur $20.9 billion in court costs and legal services.130 Additionally, most counties retain police and sheriff’s departments to promote public safety, investing over $42 billion in these services annually.131

Even short stays in jail while awaiting trial can have negative consequences, such as the accumulation of criminal justice fees. The inability to pay these costs, which can quickly accumulate into the thousands of dollars, can result in further penalties such as suspended drivers’ licenses that can prevent the individual from returning to work, resulting in a cycle of continued loss of economic opportunity.132 After release from jails or prison, people continue to face longstanding challenges securing adequate employment. Formerly incarcerated people work fewer weeks each year, earn less money and have limited upward mobility.133 Furthermore, employment prospects for formerly incarcerated individuals are diminished due to negative stigmas, usually forcing individuals into lower-wage or undesirable employment.134

Counties improve long-term economic outcomes by reducing disparities in the justice system and the delivery of public safety services.

People who receive support to stay out of jail through diversion programs that offer employment, housing and health care services have lower recidivism rates and better life outcomes. The relationship between economic mobility and penalties from incarceration is particularly salient for communities of color, such as low-income Black men who experience higher arrest rates.135

With counties positioned to play such a key role in justice and public safety, many levers are available to promote economic mobility. One such lever is justice reform measures, such as those implemented in Georgia, which help reduce jail populations – specifically for people charged with nonviolent offenses. Additionally, diversion programs such as work release, education and records expungement (where applicable) help to reduce the economic penalties of incarceration in Georgia counties.

In Oregon, counties can oversee local committees to review data, policies and practices to enhance public safety, improve services to people involved in the justice system and promote equitable criminal justice policies. Counties in Oregon also work to address the needs of people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal legal system through diversion programs that offer treatment and services instead of jail.

In pursuing justice and public safety levers, counties can promote positive solutions that improve individual and family outcomes by providing services and supports that reduce recidivism and increase employment prospects while fostering safe communities. This is at the heart of providing opportunity for economic mobility.

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Justice & Public Safety:

Justice and Public Safety Programs in Multnomah County, Ore.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 815.6k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 457.4k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $69.2k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
  • Sources: See endnote 136.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Partnerships between the County Department of Corrections and community stakeholders in the statewide reentry initiative
  • Program supports who completed treatment during incarceration find wrap-around services including housing, employment, substance abuse treatment and many more
Community Impacts
  • The reentry initiative produced a 43 percent reduction in the arrest rate in participating individuals
  • Facilitated the development of two new statewide reentry programs, Short-Term Transitional Leave (STTL) and the SE Works New Start Reentry Resource Center
Overview

Counties in Oregon are responsible for overseeing most of the departments and agencies associated with justice and public safety such as court systems, sheriff departments, local jails, programs to reduce recidivism and other evidence-based programs, such as community supervision, to foster positive development in the justice and public safety arena. Though Oregon counties are the primary purveyor of justice and public safety, state prisons and city police departments are two areas in which counties do not hold authority. Many issue areas within justice and public safety have economic mobility implications such as sentencing policies, combating recidivism and supporting those with mental health conditions.

To this end, Multnomah County was engaged in the Reentry Enhancement Coordination (REC) program, a partnership with the Volunteers of America Oregon, the Oregon Department of Corrections and two community-based nonprofit organizations. The program, launched in 2009, helped individuals in four counties who have severe drug or alcohol addictions and completed treatment during incarceration to find housing, treatment and employment as individuals transition back into the community.137 An initial study in 2011 (with small sample size) found that this program was successful in assisting individuals, reporting a 43 percent reduction in the arrest rate for individuals participating in the program within Multnomah County.138 Across all four counties in the study, individuals involved in the REC program compared to those who have not yielded a 27 percent reduction for any charge, 41 percent reduction for misdemeanor charges and 33 percent felony charge reduction.139 The reduced involvement with the justice system, in turn, results in reduced costs to individuals incurred from justice system-related involvement, thus helping to foster economic mobility.

Outcomes

In recent years, Oregon lawmakers have created two programs that effectively replace the original REC program. The first of these two programs is the Short-Term Transitional Leave (STTL) program. Oregon’s STTL program, in which Multnomah County participates, has undergone many revisions, most recently in 2017.140 This program supports incarcerated individuals by providing an avenue for an early release, requiring a supportive release plan and ensuring access to services such as a housing program through Bridges to Change (if the individual does not have access to a private residence or substance abuse treatment). An additional example is Multnomah County’s collaboration with the SE Works New Start Reentry Resource Center. This center helps support individuals in the SSTL and Alternative Incarceration Programs access case management, resume development, application assistance, subsidized on-the-job training, work-related training certifications and transitional and career track placement services.141 Through the STTL program, individuals have the opportunity and support for successfully transitioning back into the community. Successful reentry is pivotal to economic mobility because the period following release is usually one of the most precarious times. A stable transition back into the community provides a footing for job attainment and a secure environment.142

The second program built upon the successes of the REC program is the Alternative Incarceration Program (AIP). The AIP program is a product of the Oregon Department of Corrections, implemented at the county level. This program funds the institutional treatment programs within prison. Once the participant completes the AIP substance abuse programs, they are eligible to receive up to a six-month early release, with many of the same features and resources provided under the STTL program. As such, the AIP program produces similar mobility outcomes by providing the individual with a stable footing, support and resources to transition back into the community. This groundwork for success and stability leads to upward mobility.

For more information on:

  • the REC program, see here.
  • the Short-Term Transitional Leave Program, see here.
  • the Alternative Incarceration Program, see here.

Resource Re-Entry Center and the CareManager Platform in Bernalillo County, N.M.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 681.7k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 330.6k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.1%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $34.3B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $53.3k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises, Professional & Business Services, Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 143.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Public-private partnership between the county and a private sector firm
  • Aims to reduce recidivism and connect those with behavioral issues to resources
  • Provides referrals for other community-based programs that increase access to other resources and opportunities for employment
Community Impacts
  • Support provided to more than 12,000 formerly incarcerated individuals through the Resource Re-Entry Center in 2020
  • Addresses public safety needs and assists those transitioning out of the justice system
Overview

New Mexico counties, like many counties across the nation, are the primary administrator of local jails. With the responsibility of local jails comes the opportunity to address economic mobility in unique ways with innovative technology and programs.

The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative encompasses a variety of programs addressing mental and physical health, as well as social determinants of health. One of the Bernalillo County initiatives in this space is the Resource Re-Entry Center, a program built to reduce recidivism and connect individuals with behavioral health needs to resources upon release from incarceration. To operate the center efficiently, the Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services partnered with a private industry company, Netsmart, to implement their CareManager platform. This platform allows staff to coordinate care, make informed decisions at the point of care and seamlessly facilitate referrals to community partners. The CareManager platform consolidates information about individuals transitioning through the Resource Re-Entry Center into a single view while maintaining the ability to view data at a granular level. Using a single platform also eliminates data siloes, empowering a more holistic view of individuals.

Outcomes

A total of over 12,000 individuals met with the Resource Re-Entry Center case managers in 2020 after being released from incarceration – and nearly 50 people enter the center daily as their first stop after release from the county detention center. The center provides referrals for various community-based providers such as behavioral health services, housing, education and training, transportation and medical care. These referrals contribute to economic mobility as access to resources and employment after incarceration often reduces recidivism and bolsters economic success.144 Bernalillo County plans to continue improving its justice and public safety services by integrating the CareManager platform with the jail IT systems.

Serious mental illness is pervasive in jails – about three to six times higher than the general population.145 Upon release from detention, a person with a mental illness or a substance use disorder often becomes reincarcerated later. Reincarceration can lead to social, economic and financial losses for individuals, a particularly impactful consequence for minority communities – black communities in particular – disproportionally represented in the justice system.146

The CareManager platform within the Resource Re-Entry center resides at the intersection of technology and the justice and public safety authorities within Bernalillo County. Implementation of this program allows Bernalillo County an avenue to address needs in justice and public safety more efficiently as they relate to reducing recidivism while simultaneously providing resources to help support individuals after they leave jail. Outcomes of both interventions yield direct contributions to economic mobility for members of the formerly incarcerated community.

Note: Some of the information presented in this case study was originally drafted by a NACo Corporate Partner, NetSmart, for inclusion in NACo’s County News, March 22, 2021 edition.

For more information:

Technology & Information Access: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

One crucial area of economic mobility – which has become increasingly apparent throughout the coronavirus pandemic – is an individual’s access to technology and information. Counties are working as catalysts for broadband investment in communities (see Erie County, Pa. case study) and broadband is increasingly available to most of the population, with 73 percent of adults having high-speed broadband at home in 2019.147 Communities lacking broadband access skew heavily towards lower-income (56 percent of those making less than $30,000 annually have broadband), lower-educational attainment (46 percent of those without a high school diploma have access) and rural communities (63 percent of those in rural communities have broadband access).148

On the national level, county leaders have banded together to form a task force of over 30 members to advocate for increased broadband investment in local communities.149 Counties in Ohio work with the municipalities and cities to lead the way in broadband and technology investment with a focus on bringing broadband into rural areas through partnerships to expand access, and into underserved urban areas by working to increase the affordability of these tools.

Oregon counties may act as a provider of broadband and telecommunication services to local communities – even those outside their county – though this presents unique barriers. Most Oregon counties promote broadband investment by actively discussing investment with state and private partners (see Multnomah County, Ore. case study). Similarly, Georgia counties are active in these same discussions surrounding broadband and worked with the private industries on 5G deployment with incentives specifically targeting deployment in rural communities through new state legislation.

The advancement of economic mobility is intertwined with access to technology, information and digital literacy.

Increased broadband access provides opportunities for employment, income creation and provides a means of connection to other resources or information. Also important is technology, like computers and smartphones, and the digital literacy to use such devices.

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Technology & Information Access:

Erie County Broadband Initiative in Erie County, Pa.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 268.4k
  • Size of Labor Force (2020): 126.7k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 9.8%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $10.9B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $51.5k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Educational Services, Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 150.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Partnered with regional stakeholders to examine the local broadband or technology landscape
  • Developed a comprehensive plan to identify gaps and growth areas for broadband infrastructure
  • Partnering with internet providers and other stakeholders to expand broadband access
Community Impacts
  • Resulted in the formation of the Erie County Broadband Initiative
  • Working toward expanding broadband coverage across the community
Overview

Positioned between Ohio and New York, Erie County, Pa. (home to Erie and Corry Cities) is the only county in Pennsylvania located on the coast of Lake Erie. As of 2019, about 81 percent of households in the county have a broadband internet subscription, and 88 percent of households own a computer.151 However, broadband access is not always akin to quality broadband. About 65 percent of counties experience internet speeds below the FCC’s definition of broadband, including roughly 52 percent of mid-sized counties such as Erie.152

Outcomes

As the COVID-19 pandemic has helped to illuminate, accessing specific technologies like quality broadband provides a gateway for economic mobility. In 2015, Erie County joined several other organizations and local governments in Northwest Pennsylvania to form the Northwest Pennsylvania Broadband Committee. The committee, part of Connection Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program, produced the Community Technology Action Plan (CTAP) in 2017.153 CTAP identified gaps and growth areas for new high-speed internet infrastructure, analyzed the current capacity available to meet broadband needs, identified best practices to improve infrastructure and produced recommended strategies to provide affordable internet coverage.154 Through this plan, Erie County has been able to identify specific areas of need, which the county is addressing through the Erie County Broadband Initiative. The initiative aims to expand broadband coverage to 100 percent of Erie County residents by working with Internet Service Providers, utility companies, municipalities, broadband organizations, and state and federal government partners.155

For more information:

Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study in Multnomah County, Ore.

  • County Authority: Home Rule
  • Population (2020): 815.6k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 457.4k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $69.2k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises
  • Sources: See endnote 156.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Conducted a study to determine the possibility of a publicly owned and operated internet provider
  • Engaged several community members, stakeholders and partners
Community Impacts
  • Identified urgencies for potential broadband implementation
  • Identified availability of funding streams to leverage for large-scale project
Overview

Counties in Oregon generally have a wide berth of authority relating to high-speed internet access due to the relative novelty of broadband legislation in Oregon. Barred only by an inability to preempt state laws, counties possess the ability to create alliances, negotiate contracts and even provide broadband as a public service utility. In fact, in the 1990s' western Oregon counties embarked upon a project to provide high-speed fiber and internet to residents. Throughout the pandemic, the technology divide within urbanized counties like Multnomah has become apparent – particularly the unequal access for low-income and minority residents. Multnomah County explored the feasibility of a publicly owned and operated internet service provider within the county to address these challenges.

Outcomes

Multnomah County began a Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, engaging several community stakeholders and partners throughout late 2019 and early 2020 in determining the need and feasibility of a publicly owned and operated internet provider.157 The study examined all facets of a potential implementation such as costs, need, public perception and existing services within the jurisdiction to determine viability for such a project. Through community input such as town hall discussions, surveys and other research, Multnomah County deduced findings and priorities for potential broadband implementation. A few of these findings include a need for implementation to be transparent and equitable – so long as services are reliable, some residents would be willing to pay more to offset costs for others – and widespread public support for the project.158 However, as with any large-scale project, an existing barrier for counties to create public utilities for broadband is a lack of funding. To this end, the study also identifies several possible sources of funding for Multnomah County, including funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.159 Armed with this information, Multnomah County can make effective decisions on how to proceed with broadband development within the county.

For more information:

Financial Security: County Authority and Economic Mobility Levers

Financial security means accessibility to funds that can provide basic requirements like shelter, food, water and ancillary needs. Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans expected to live paycheck to paycheck in 2020160 according to a pre-pandemic survey, and the share of workers reportedly living paycheck to paycheck has only increased throughout the pandemic, to roughly 63 percent.161 Financial security’s ties to economic mobility have only become exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic since the economic impacts have concentrated among lower-income individuals. Similarly, Black Americans, who historically have been among the less financially secure, are more likely to draw upon retirement savings when faced with economic hardships.162 Even those moving upwards economically are often disadvantaged if they are not financially secure. 163

Achieving financial security relies on the attainment of three pillars: routinely positive cash flow, personal resources and public and private benefits.164 At the county level, the translation from these pillars to public policy is varied. For instance, social service programs in Georgia counties, such as unemployment insurance and SNAP benefits, which fall under the public and private benefits pillar, are administered at the state level.

County authority related to routinely positive cash flow is slightly more flexible. Though usually limited to discussion in the context of the direct county workforce (county employees), authority related to routinely positive cash flow extends into other areas such as schooling. A significant relationship between K-12 school quality and earnings later in life suggests quality education in the formative years is important to achieving a routine positive cash flow as an adult.165 Furthermore, addressing needs outside of the classroom through the form of extracurricular services and resources are proven measures that lead to increased earnings later in life – especially for less-advantaged children – thus strengthening financial security and supporting upward mobility166 (see Bernalillo County, N.M. case study).

However, the pillar to which county authority generally lends the most breadth in supporting financial security is the personal resources pillar. The personal resources pillar consists of savings and financial cushions, allowing for asset building and investment.167 Counties can promote and educate residents on saving for emergencies or retirement, facilitate programs to promote homeownership or enact workforce development programs to increase earning potential. Counties in Georgia have implemented solutions to bolster financial literacy by providing financial education or training to their community to help educate residents on smart financial habits such as saving for emergencies or retirement. In addition to these education methods, Georgia counties have the authority to convene partnerships with non-profit organizations providing services to individuals to help them become financially secure. Maryland counties may promote financial security by overseeing community colleges, workforce development boards and working with the state and non-profit organizations to promote homeownership programs.

The financial well-being of residents is related to both short-term financial stability and longer-term upward economic mobility.

Financially secure individuals can generally allocate more net income towards personal resource building such as homeownership, investments, savings and retirement funds or other forms of assets that can bolster mobility. One such example is in homeownership and affordable housing (see Mobile County, Ala. case study). Financing development projects for affordable single-family homes stimulate the supply side of the market, which also assists individuals to grow their resources by providing options for homeownership within the price range. Similarly, county incentives for developing affordable rental housing contribute to financial stability, and therefore economic mobility, by reducing costs associated with renting thereby helping individuals obtain routine positive cash flow.

Spotlight on County Economic Mobility Solutions in Financial Security:

2-Generation Approach in Garrett County, Md.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 28.9k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 15.3k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 6.6%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $1.3B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $52.6k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Real Estate & Rental and Leasing; Government & Government Enterprises; Retail Trade
  • Sources: See endnote 168.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Facilitates a Two-generation (2Gen) approach that supports family well-being and child welfare
  • Uses proprietary data intake and outcome management software to implement approach
  • Connects at-need residents to county and state services as a one-stop-shop for services including career coaching, health insurance assistance, and adult education classes
Community Impacts
  • Improved efficiency in administering services to residents
  • Inspired similar approaches in other counties across the state
Overview

Nestled just below the Mason-Dixon line and along the westernmost edge of Maryland is Garrett County. A member of the Appalachian region, Garrett County is a small county with one of the lowest median household incomes in the state.169

In 2009, a local nonprofit called Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. (GCCAC) changed its organizational structure and processes to streamline public service delivery to residents through the lens of a 2-Generation approach.170 The 2-Generation approach, or 2Gen for short, is not a new concept. Originally coined by the Foundation for Child Development initiative launched in the 1980s, the approach centers around addressing family income security and child welfare policy.171 In Garrett County, GCCAC used the 2Gen approach in creating a proprietary data intake and outcome management software that identifies a multitude of services for which individuals may be eligible.172 Such services include career coaching, adult education classes, health insurance assistance, job searches and other fundamental services.173 Another element of the software is the ability to track services provided and progress towards achieving outcomes. This new way of providing a one-stop-shop for community members seeking services is called the Common Customer Intake system.174 This system addressed inefficiencies that previously required individuals seeking services for themselves and their families to apply to each service singly.

Outcomes

GCCAC has assisted families and children through the innovative implementation of the 2Gen approach. One individual attained energy assistance subsidized rental housing and affordable childcare along with other services allowing her to find work in the healthcare industry and pursue a college certification.175 Such successes rely on GCCAC’s partnerships with foundations and many community stakeholders, including Garrett County. The successes of GCCAC’s 2Gen approach in Garrett County spurred similar approaches in counties around the state and nation, as well as in Maryland State.176

Through the support of Garrett County and other partnerships, the programs implemented under the 2Gen approach contribute to economic mobility by addressing the lever of financial security. These programs assist with building personal resources, increasing access to public and private benefits and helping individuals establish routinely positive cash flow; thus, invoking all three pillars of financial security identified in the Aspen Institute’s research in one initiative.

For more information:

First-Time Homebuyer Program & Financial Stability for the Unbanked Program in Mobile County, Ala.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 412.7k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 190.9k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 7.9%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $18.5B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $47.6k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Manufacturing; Government & Government Enterprises; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 177.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Formed a coalition of several organizations and local governments to launch homeownership and financial stability program
  • Connected unbanked and underbanked individuals to financial education and resources
  • Includes down payment assistance for first time home buyers, financing development of affordable homes and financing the development of rental housing
Community Impacts
  • Creates a pathway for accumulation of financial assets and resources for residents
  • Expands the supply of affordable housing
Overview

In 2014, Bank On South Alabama, a coalition of several organizations and local governments, including Mobile County, launched.178 The initiative drives towards many goals, including reaching out to unbanked and underbanked individuals, providing financial education and offering resources to assist individuals in achieving financial stability.179 About 6 percent of individuals were unbanked, while about 16 percent were underbanked in 2018.180 The terms “unbanked” and “underbanked” typically refer to individuals who make little or no use of banking services, instead of relying on alternative financial services such as check-cashing services, payday loans or money orders which often result in increased costs to the individual.181 Those considered to be unbanked or underbanked are typically lower-income individuals within minority communities.182 As such, Bank On South Alabama, supported by Mobile County, addresses financial security through all pillars identified by the Aspen Institute.

Outcomes

Another program addressing financial security and economic mobility in Mobile County is the county implementation of the national HOME Investments Partnership program. This program seeks to expand the supply of affordable housing, focusing on lower-income families.183 Mobile County directly administers three branches of this program through the County Grants Department.184 The county uses the funds allocated for this program in three ways: a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers, financing development of affordable homes and financing the development of rental housing.185 All three of these sub-programs support the pillar of personal resources by aiding low-income individuals seeking to purchase or rent homes. The down payment assistance program provides between $1,000 and $10,000 to individuals within Mobile County whose median household income is less than or equal to 80 percent of the current median family income within the county, depending on the number of persons within the household and the combined household income.186 The provided funds are an interest-free deferred loan intended to supplement or cover the down-payment on a mortgage for a single-family home.187 The loan is then forgiven over five years so long as the individual lives within the home on a full-time basis throughout the entirety of those five years.188 The accumulation of personal resources and assets, including homeownership, provides individuals with a financial cushion and helps to build personal wealth, thus driving economic mobility.189

For more information:

  • on the Bank on South Alabama, see here.
  • on Mobile County’s implementation of the HOME Program, see here.

ABC School Partnership in Bernalillo County, N.M.

  • County Authority: Dillon’s Rule
  • Population (2020): 681.7k
  • Size of the Labor Force (2020): 330.6k
  • Unemployment Rate (2020): 8.1%
  • County Economic Output (2019): $63.2B
  • Median Household Income (2019): $53.3k
  • Top Three Industries by Economic Output (2019): Government & Government Enterprises; Professional & Business Services; Real Estate & Rental and Leasing
  • Sources: See endnote 190.
  • Learn more
Key Program Tenets
  • Joint Powers Agreement between the county, public schools, businesses, local organizations and other local governments in the community
  • Provides a variety of educational, after school programming, and health and social services to students in the community
Community Impacts
  • More than 8,000 students and families received health care and other basic services through this program
  • Helps to address inequities in economic mobility
  • The leading demographic served are Latino
Overview

Bernalillo County resides in the central region of New Mexico and is the central county for Albuquerque. As the most populated county in the state, Bernalillo had nearly 100,000 students in public elementary and secondary schools in 2017.191

In Bernalillo County, the ABC Community School Partnership focuses on providing a quality educational experience to students, both in and out of the classroom. Community schooling is not itself a program, but rather a strategy that brings community resources and partners together to address academics, health and social services and community engagement and development.192 The Community Schools do not solely operate during school hours – they also are available for students before and after school, on the weekends and in the summers.

Outcomes

Bernalillo County engages with the ABC Community Schools Partnership both financially and as a member of the community. The Partnership began in 2007 through a Joint Powers Agreement between Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County, Albuquerque City, the United Way of Central New Mexico and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact.193 Additionally, several local organizations such as the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Civic Engagement Partnership and the local Boys and Girls Club are all engaged in the Partnership.194 Through these partners, ABC Community Schools can provide services and programs including clubs and activities, sports, student transportation services and before and after school programming.195 Within the schools, a resource coordinator is responsible for connecting students to the resources and programs they need to be successful.196 The strategy and approach ABC Community Schools uses has yielded many successes within the community. Throughout the first quarter of the 2018–2019 school year, the Partnership produced nearly 33,000 contacts across four domains.197 This includes the over 8,800 students and families who received access to health care and basic needs services, the 17,000 family members who participated in engagement activities and over 4,500 students who participated in expanded learning opportunities.198 As of the 2015–2016 school year, there were 23 Community Schools in the county.199 The programs and resources provided in these schools help raise the educational quality and support students and families receive. In turn, this contributes to individual financial security both in the short term and throughout the child’s lifetime.

The ABC Community Schools Partnership in Bernalillo County also helps address inequities in economic mobility as the leading demographic served by the initiative are Latinx (over 66 percent enrolled). Only 18 percent of enrolled students are considered English language learners, and nearly 64 percent of all students enrolled receive free lunches.200 Despite an economically disadvantaged background, the quality schooling and resources provided by the ABC Community School Partnership help to provide financial security to individuals and families within Bernalillo County.

For more information:

Conclusion

Counties are one of the closest forms of government to people, making them uniquely positioned to develop approaches that improve individuals and families' economic opportunity and ensure support reaches those who need it most. Counties already play an instrumental role across several factors (i.e., education, housing, workforce development, health, etc.) that influence economic mobility. Therefore, counties have the tools necessary to drive inclusive and equitable upward mobility where residents have access to resources and are empowered to pursue their economic potential.

Because counties have distinct roles and authorities in these seven key factors, county policies and investments are particular effective solutions to uplift communities and residents and drive their upward mobility.

Neighborhoods with high upward mobility levels possess characteristics, such as less residential segregation, lower rates of inequality by income and race, lower violent crime rates, better educational opportunities and access to well-paying jobs, to name a few. Counties working within the power and authorities defined by the state can employ various levers such as policy and decision-making powers, program enacting or administering authority, and even form partnerships to foster equitable and inclusive economic mobility prospects.

Authors and Acknowledgements

NACo’s Economic Mobility Leadership Network is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings and conclusions contained above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The authors would like to thank every county official who participated in the Economic Mobility Leadership Network in 2019 and 2020, as they added diverse, invaluable insights to the work and without them it would not exist. Numerous county staff and staff of state county associations also contributed to the research of this report. The authors are also grateful to the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, particularly Tim Shaw, who provides guidance and policy expertise in support of the cohort. The authors also express their appreciation to their Public Affairs colleagues for the graphic design and the website of the report. Finally, the authors would like to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their ongoing support of the project.

Within the National Association of Counties, the authors would like to thank Ricardo Aguilar, Victoria Akosile, Kiely Ford and Delaney Hertel for helping to develop the report. This report was prepared by Stacy Nakintu, Research & Data Analyst, Kevin Shrawder, Associate Economist, Katie Sullivan, Program Manager, Resilient Economies & Communities with guidance from Teryn Zmuda, Chief Economist and Director of the Counties Futures Lab, Ashleigh Holand, Director of Programs and Practices and Jonathan Harris, Associate Director of Research. The authors would also like to thank Alejandra Montoya-Boyer and Ruochen Wang for their contributions to this publication.

The authors would like to recognize three counties who have contributed to the success of the EMLN throughout its existence but did not participate in 2020: Bernalillo County, N.M., Garrett County, Md. and Washington County, Va.

Notes On Methodology

To prepare this report, NACo relied on three efforts:

  1. Results of a survey of EMLN participating counties.
  2. Several in-depth interviews with county officials and staff, as well as state association staff.
  3. Feedback from county officials and staff on county case studies.

In 2019, NACo administered a survey to county officials from 20 EMLN participating counties. The survey consisted of several questions related to economic mobility. This study used responses to identify programs to highlight in the county case studies. The one-hour in-depth interviews allowed research staff to understand the powers and authorities of county governments across various issue areas (i.e., health, financial security, education, workforce development, etc.).

Glossary of Key Terms

Absolute mobility: A measure of mobility that examines how likely an individual is to exceed their parents' income at a similar age.

Dillon’s rule: One of the forms of local government authority where counties can only exercise powers explicitly stated in state law and must obtain state approval for any changes in their structure, function or fiscal organization. Counties and municipalities must obtain permission from the state legislature to pass a law or ordinance which is not explicitly permitted under existing state legislation.

Economic mobility: The ability to move up and down the economic ladder either across a lifetime or across generations — usually measured in income.

Economic Mobility Leadership Network: A cohort of county leaders that examines the range of complicated issues that comprise economic mobility, including housing, food insecurity and an overall lack of opportunity.

Home Rule: Another form of local government authority where counties and municipalities are granted local autonomy or local self-determination without state interference through state constitutions or statutes. States may pass laws limiting the powers of counties, as opposed to passing laws that give powers (as seen in Dillon's rule states).

Home Rule charters: States grant limited authority to local governments by the passage of state statutes. The states mandate some form of Home Rule authority without formal grants of Home Rule power to counties.

Intra-generational mobility: A concept that examines changes in an individual's or group's income over their lifetime. It is also measured based on absolute or relative differences.

Inter-generational mobility: A concept that examines economic mobility across generations. Inter-generational mobility compares an individual's income as an adult relative to their parent's (or grandparent's) income at a similar age. It is also measured based on absolute or relative differences.

Relative mobility: A measure that examines the ranking of individuals' income on the income distribution compared to their parents, peers, or over their lifetime.

Endnotes

[1] Margery Austin Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action Summary” (Washington D.C.: Urban Institute, 2020).

[2] Aparna Mathur, Abby McCloskey and Erin Melley, “The American Dream in 2020: How to Strengthen It” (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 2020).

[3] Intergenerational Elasticity (IGE) measures the strength of the relationship between the income of parents and that of children. The IGE is interpreted as the percent increase in the expected income of children (when they are adults) given an additional percentage point of parental income. It is often used as a measure of economic mobility because it refers to the persistence in economic standing across generations. See Pew Charitable Trusts and the Russell Sage Foundation, “Economic Mobility in the United States” (2015).

[4] Raj Chetty and others, “Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility.” Working Paper 19844 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014).

[5] Raj Chetty and others, “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940.” Working Paper 22910 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016).

[6] Miles Corak, “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives (3) [2013]: 79–102.

[7] Raj Chetty and others, “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.” Working Paper 19843 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid.

[13] Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects.” Working Paper 23001 (National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2016, Revised May 2017).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Raj Chetty and others, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective.” Working Paper 24441 (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018).

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid

[18] Ibid.

[19] Counties in Utah are under “Hutchinson’s Rule” – which is something in between Dillon’s rule and Home rule. Basically, the counties are under Dillon’s Rule, but the courts are told to rule favorably on the side of counties.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Blumenthal and McGinty, “Housing Policy Levers to Promote Economic Mobility” Urban Institute (September 2015).

[22] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance data, 2017.

[23] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2020” (2020).

[24] The Aspen Institute, “Strong Foundations: Financial Security Starts with Affordable, Stable Housing” (2020).

[25] Ibid.

[26] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[27] Katie Sullivan, “Member Profile: Commissioner Mack Bernard, Palm Beach County, Fla.” (2021), available at: https://www.naco.org/blog/member-profile-commissioner-mack-bernard-palm-beach-county-fla (May 4, 2021).

[28] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) One-Year Estimates, 2017.

[29] Matthew Sellers and Jacqueline Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report” (Washington, D.C.: National Association of Counties, 2010).

[30] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[31] The Home Consortium, “Funding” (n.d.), available at http://www.homeconsortium.info/about-us/funding/ (March 24, 2020).

[32] Waukesha County, “The HOME Consortium” (n.d.), available at https://www.waukeshacounty.gov/landandparks/community-development/learn-more-about/HOME%20Program/home-program/ (March 24, 2020).

[33] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[34] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019. NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

[35] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2014–2018 (Table B19049).

[36] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2012–2016 (Table B25070).

[37] See Howard County MIHU Homeownership Information Workshops PowerPoint Presentation, “Moderate Income Housing Unit Program: Making Housing Dreams Come True” (2021), available at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=U2d6yOIDFs0%3d&tabid=2837&portalid=0 (March 24, 2021).

[38] NACo interview with Howard County, 2021.

[39] Ibid.

[40] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance, 2017.

[41] Reuben Finighan and Robert Putnam, “A Country Divided: The Growing Opportunity Gap in America” (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 2017).

[42] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Education Access and Quality, “available at https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/education-access-and-quality (June 15, 2021).

[43] See Elizabeth M. Lawrence, “Why Do College Graduates Behave More Healthfully than Those Who Are Less Educated?” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 58 (3) (2017): 291–306 and Jennifer Ma, Matea Pender, and Meredith Welch, “Education Pays 2019: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society” (College Board, 2019).

[44] Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, “Brain Architecture, “available at https://www.thencit.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Brain Science Infographic.pdf (June 16, 2021).

[45] National Association of Counties (NACo), “NACo Legislative Brief: Proposals to Address The Covid-19 Child Care Crisis” (2021), available at https://www.naco.org/sites/default/files/documents/NACo Legislative Brief - Proposals to Address the COVID 19 Child Care Crisis_Jan 2021.pdf (June 15, 2021).

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] National Association of Counties (NACo), “Counties at Work Counties Support Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Opportunities for Residents” (2021), available at https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/counties-supporting-postsecondary-education-systems-and-workforce-opportunities (June 15, 2021).

[49] Alan Berube, “Three things that matter for upward mobility in the labor market” (2019), available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/01/15/three-things-that-matter-for-upward-mobility-in-the-labor-market/ (March 24, 2021).

[50] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[51] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP).

[52] NACo Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics – Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

[53] Tarrant County’s median household income is $4,857 above the national median household which is 65,712. NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates.

[54] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, 2019.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Laurie M. Anderson and others, “The Effectiveness of Early Childhood Development Programs: A Systematic Review,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 24 (3) (2003): 32–46.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Raj Chetty and others, “Economic Mobility” (2015), available at https://inequality.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/SOTU_2015_economic-mobility.pdf (March 24, 2021).

[59] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[60] See Franklin County Board of Commissioners, “Rise Together: A Blueprint for Reducing Poverty in Franklin County” (2019), available at https://commissioners.franklincountyohio.gov/COMM-website/media/Documents/FRANK-Report-1-10-Web-Ready-(Large)_1.pdf (March 24, 2021).

[61] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates 2017; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2013–2017 5-year Estimates.

[62] See, for example, Martin Prosperity Institute, “Segregated City: The Geography of Economic Segregation in America’s Metros” (2015), available at https://community-wealth.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/report-florida-mellander.pdf (March 24, 2021).

[63] Sellers and Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report.”

[64] Ibid.

[65] Columbus Urban League, “Building Futures” (n.d.), available at https://www.cul.org/initiatives/building-futures/ (March 24, 2021).

[66] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[67] Coconino County, “Workforce Business Plan — Coconino County Local Workforce Area: July 1, 2017 — June 30, 2021” (n.d.), available at https://coconino.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/28016/Workforce-Development-Plan---March-2019?bidId= (March 24, 2021).

[68] Ibid.

[69] NACo Analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product Data by County, 2018.

[70] Coconino County, “Workforce Business Plan — Coconino County Local Workforce Area: July 1, 2017 — June 30, 2021.”

[71] Coconino County, “Manufacturing Sector Innovations: Coconino Connection for Advanced Manufacturing Sector Excellence” (n.d.), available at https://coconino.az.gov/1137/Manufacturing-Sector (March 24, 2021).

[72] NACo analysis of: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, 2016; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data, 2018; NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials) data, 2016; Census of Governments Data, 2017.

[73] Jessica Kronstadt, “Health and Economic Mobility” (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2008).

[74] Ibid.

[75] Laurie M Anderson, Carolynne Shinn, Mindy T Fullilove, Susan C Scrimshaw, Jonathan E Fielding, Jacques Normand, Vilma G Carande-Kulis, “The effectiveness of early childhood development programs: A systematic review,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 24 (3) (2003): 32–46.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Jennifer Tolbert, Kendal Orgera, and Anthony Damico, “Key Facts about the Uninsured Population” (2020), available at https://www.kff.org/uninsured/issue-brief/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/ (March 24, 2021).

[79] Ibid.

[80] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[81] Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action Summary.”

[82] Ibid.

[83] Stuart M. Butler, William W. Beach, and Paul L. Winfree, “Pathways to Economic Mobility: Key Indicators” (2008), available at https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/economic_mobility/pewempchartbook12pdf (March 24, 2021).

[84] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[85] NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

[86] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

[87] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE), 2018.

[88] See, for example, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Primary Care Visits Available to Most Uninsured but at a Higher Price” (2015), available at https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/primary-care-visits-available-to-most-uninsured-but-at-a-high-price.html (December 9, 2020).

[89] Pinellas County Human Services, “Pinellas County Health Program” (n.d.), available at http://www.pinellascounty.org/humanservices/healthprogram.htm (March 26, 2021).

[90] Ibid.

[91] Florida Association of Counties, “Charter County Information” (n.d.), available at https://www.fl-counties.com/charter-county-information (March 26, 2021).

[92] Sellers and Byers, “County Authority: A State-by-State Report.”

[93] Ibid.

[94] Pinellas County, “COVID-19 Spending Report” (2021), available at https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/covid-19-spending-report/ (March 26, 2021).

[95] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

[96] Ibid.

[97] The Pew Charitable Trusts, “Economic Mobility of the States” (2012).

[98] Chetty and others, “Where is the Land of Opportunity?” Commuting zones are aggregations of counties similar to metropolitan statistical areas but which include rural areas and cover the entire nation.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence F. Katz, “The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment,” American Economic Review 106 (4) (2016): 855–902.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Chetty and Hendren, “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I.”

[104] Rodney Andrews and others, “Location Matters: Historical Racial Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility,” Economics Letters 158 (2017): 67–72.

[105] Sean Rusnak, “How an Insufficient Public Transportation System Decelerates Economic Mobility” (2019), available at https://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/insufficient-public-transportation-decelerates-economic-mobility/ (March 26, 2021).

[106] Ibid.

[107] Ibid.

[108] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[109] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

[110] Margery Austin Turner and others, “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action” (Washington D.C.: Urban Institute, 2020).

[111] Ibid.

[112] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[113] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Virginia’s Legislative Information System, “Virginia Law,” available at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/15.2-2223/ (March 31, 2021).

[116] Ibid.

[117] Loudoun County, “Loudoun County 2019 Countywide Transportation Plan” (2019), available at https://www.loudoun.gov/DocumentCenter/View/152287/CTP---Combined-with-small-maps-bookmarked (March 26, 2021).

[118] Ibid.

[119] Ibid.

[120] Ibid.

[121] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[122] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2019. NACo categorizes counties based on population size. Large counties have more than 500,000 residents, medium-sized counties have between 50,000 and 500,000 residents and small counties have less than 50,000 residents.

[123] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[124] Choose Erie, “Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership” (n.d.), available at www.chooseerie.com (March 26, 2021).

[125] Ibid.

[126] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[127] Hennepin County, “Transit Oriented Development” (n.d.), available at https://www.hennepin.us/sitecore/content/economic-development/programs/transit-oriented-development (March 26, 2021).

[128] Ibid.

[129] Ibid.

[130] NACo Analysis of: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Census of Jail Facilities Data, 2013; Census of Governments Data, 2017; U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

[131] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau – Census of Individual Governments: Finance Data, 2017.

[132] Lauren Tara LaCapra, “What going to jail does to your finances” Splinter News, July 9, 2015, available at https://splinternews.com/what-going-to-jail-does-to-your-finances-1793850560 (March 26, 2021).

[133] https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2010/collateralcosts1pdf.pdf

[134] Amy Sheppard and Rosemary Ricciardelli, “Employment After Prison: Navigating Conditions of Precarity and Stigma” (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, 2020).

[135] Chetty and others, “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective.”

[136] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[137] Volunteers of America Oregon, “Reentry Enhancement Coordination” (n.d.), available at https://www.voaor.org/find-services/reentry-and-transition/reentry-enhancement-coordination/ (March 26, 2021).

[138] State of Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, “Offender Reentry Programs Preliminary Evaluation” (2011), available at https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/CJC%20Document%20Library/reentry_eval_final.pdf (March 26, 2021).

[139] Ibid.

[140] State of Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, “Short Term Transitional Leave Program in Oregon” (2019), available at https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/CJC%20Document%20Library/2019STTLReport.pdf (March 26, 2021).

[141] Worksource Oregon Employment Department, SE Works NewStart Reentry Resource Center, available at https://seworks.org/newstart/.

[142] Amy L. Solomon and others, “From Prison to Work: The Employment Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry - A Report of the Reentry Roundtable” (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2004).

[143] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[144] See the Council of State Governments Justice Center, “After the Sentence, More Consequences: A National Report of Barriers to Work” (2021), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/publications/after-the-sentence-more-consequences/ (March 26, 2021); The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “Laying the Groundwork: How States Can Improve Access to Continued Education for People in the Criminal Justice System” (2020), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/publications/laying-the-groundwork/ (March 26, 2021) and Mark T. Berg and Beth M. Huebner, “Reentry and the Ties that Bind: An Examination of Social Ties, Employment, and Recidivism,” Justice Quarterly 28 (2) (2011): 382-410.

[145] The Council of State Governments Justice Center, “The Second Chance Act: Background” (2018), available at https://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/July-2018_SCA_factsheet.pdf (March 26, 2021).

[146] Tara O'Neill Hayes, “The Economic Costs of the U.S. Criminal Justice System” (Washington, D.C.: American Action Forum, 2020).

[147] Pew Research Center, “Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet” (2019), available at https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/ (March 26, 2021).

[148] Ibid.

[149] National Association of Counties, “NACo Broadband Task Force” (n.d.), available at https://www.naco.org/naco-broadband-task-force (March 26, 2021).

[150] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[151] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates.

[152] Arthur Scott, “Understanding the True State of Connectivity in America” (Washington, D.C.: National Association of Counties, 2020).

[153] Northwest Commission, “Community Technology Action Plan” (2017), available at https://broadband.eriecountypa.gov/pdf/NWPA-Connected-Plan-Final.pdf (March 26, 2021).

[154] Ibid.

[155] Erie County Broadband Initiative, “Mission” (n.d.), available at https://broadband.eriecountypa.gov/#sectionMission (March 26, 2021).

[156] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[157] Columbia Telecommunications Corporation, “Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study: Prepared for Multnomah County, Oregon” (2020), available at https://multco.us/file/92615/download (March 26, 2021).

[158] Ibid.

[159] Ibid.

[160] First National Bank of Omaha, “Study: 53% of U.S. Adults Don’t Have Emergency Fund” (2020), available at https://www.fnbo.com/insights/2020/newsroom/fnbo-releases-2020-financial-planning-survey/index.html (March 26, 2021).

[161] Shawn M. Carter, “Here’s How Many More Americans Are Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck since the Covid Pandemic Started” (2020), available at https://grow.acorns.com/americans-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-during-covid/ (March 26, 2021).

[162] Anne Tergesen and Heather Gillers, “U.S. Retirement Crisis Hits Black Americans Hard” The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2021, available at https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-retirement-crisis-hits-black-americans-hard-11613989981?mod=hp_lead_pos5 (March 26, 2021).

[163] Karen Kavanaugh, “A Decade After Economic Crisis, Many Families Continue to Struggle” (2018), available at https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2018/10/09/a-decade-after-economic-crisis-many-families-continue-to-struggle (March 26, 2021).

[164] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience” (2020).

[165] Grawe, “Education and Economic Mobility.”

[166] Kaisa Snellman and others, “The Engagement Gap: Social Mobility and Extracurricular Participation among American Youth” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 657 (1) (2014): 194-207.

[167] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience.”

[168] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[169] NACo Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Estimates, 2014–2018 (Table B19049).

[170] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers” (2020).

[171] Foundation for Child Development, “History” (n.d.), available at https://www.fcd-us.org/about-us/history/ (March 26, 2021).

[172] Garrett County Community Action Committee, “2-Generation (2-G)” (n.d.), available at https://www.garrettcac.org/index.php/early-childhood-dev/2-generation-2g (March 26, 2021).

[173] Ibid.

[174] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers.”

[175] Garrett County Community Action Committee, “2-G Success Stories” (n.d.), available at https://www.garrettcac.org/index.php/early-childhood-dev/2-generation-2g/124-family-development/2-generation-2g/372-2-g-success (March 26, 2021).

[176] The Aspen Institute, “State 2Gen Model: Maryland as a Case Study for Policymakers.”

[177] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[178] Bank on South Alabama, available at bankonsouthalabama.org (March 26, 2021).

[179] Ibid.

[180] Federal Reserve, “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 - May 2019” (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2019).

[181] Connect, “Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who They Are and How They Differ” (2020), available at https://www.microbiltconnect.com/article/Unbanked-vs-Underbanked-Who-they-are-and-how-they-differ (March 26, 2021).

[182] Ibid.

[183] Mobile County, “HOME Investments Partnership” (n.d.), available at https://www.mobilecountyal.gov/grants/assisted-home-program/ (March 26, 2021).

[184] Ibid.

[185] Ibid.

[186] Ibid.

[187] Ibid.

[188] Ibid.

[189] The Aspen Institute, “The State of Financial Security 2020: A Framework for Recovery and Resilience.”

[190] In order of appearance, NACo Research, 2021; NACo Analysis of: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program (PEP), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), 2020; U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Department of Commerce / Bureau of Economic Analysis / Regional Economic Accounts / Gross Domestic Product by County, 2019.

[191] NACo Analysis of National Center for Economic Statistics (NCES) - Common Core Data (CCD), Elementary and Secondary Information System (ELSi), 2017.

[192] Bernalillo County Community Services, “What is a Community School?” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/what-is-a-community-school-.aspx (March 26, 2021).

[193] Bernalillo County Community Services, “ABC Community School Partnership Fact Sheet” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/news.aspx?f50e29bf166542cbb6963e258ca152b9blogPostId=047b67e795da42b882b38591ffb8d997#/BlogContent (March 26, 2021).

[194] Coalition for Community Schools, “School Details” (n.d.), available at http://www.communityschools.org/mapdetails.aspx?iid=26 (March 26, 2021).

[195] Ibid.

[196] American Federation of Teachers, “Community Schools: Case Studies of What Works” (n.d.), available at https://www.bernco.gov/uploads/files/Community%20Schools%20AFT.pdf (March 26, 2021).

[197] Bernalillo County Community Services, “New Report Shows Deep Impact of ABC Community School Partnership” (2018), available at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/news.aspx?f50e29bf166542cbb6963e258ca152b9blogPostId=e541ee305145414699e7f24c50cc7b19#/BlogContent (March 26, 2021).

[198] Ibid.

[199] Bernalillo County Community Services, “ABC Community School Partnership Fact Sheet.”

[200] Coalition for Community Schools, “Coalition for Community Schools, “School Details.”

Standard

Related News

Related Resources

Upcoming Events

More From

  • County Frameworks for Recovery Fund Investments

    This report, prepared in conjunction with Brookings Metro as part of NACo’s Equitable Economic Recovery Project, examines strategies for investing Recovery Funds with an eye towards equity, drawing on the existing resources and expertise of Brookings scholars referenced throughout this text. Learn More

Contact