Opportunity in the Southeast


We chose to investigate how colleges in the Southeast region of the US compare to colleges in other regions in regard to social mobility and accessibility, and how the states within the region compare to each other. Some of the factors that we decided to assess were the mobility rates correlating with region along with comparisons to parent’s average yearly income. We also looked at certain college characteristics (selectivity, location, tuition, choice of major, etc.) specific to the southeast. Data distributions that are presented below illustrate state specific as well as regional discrepancies.


Mobility Rate

Social mobility rate, defined in class as the upward or downward movement in terms of socio-economic status, as depicted in the two graphs below is the central idea to the Equality of Opportunity project as it illustrates the true socio-economic climb presented by individuals who came from a objectively more difficult background versus individuals that otherwise don’t.

The graph below represents regional data as well as institutional. It is interesting to notice the highest overall compensation averages are distributed on the east and west coasts. The key idea behind these rates is to also expect higher rates in the coming years as this data defines or at least visualizes the trajectory of students that enter college. And in a sense also quantifies the benefit of spending four years in an undergraduate institution, which some may arguably say, it is not apparent. Personally, I reckon that after attending four years of school, if you are financially at a set back especially if your chosen occupation requires no bachelors, it seems to add more obstacles than solve.

Click on this link see and interact with the full visualization.

Mobility Rate is described by the Equality of Opportunity Project as the joint probability of parents in the bottom quintile and child in the top quintile of the income distribution. There is a wide range of rates depending on the state. We looked at average mobility rate by region. Click around to see which regions and states have higher mobility rates than others.

The degree of mobility is determined as a range between values (0.01048-0.3506), and it is immediately evident that there is a deficit in mobility, nationally. Specifically in the South-west we see positive mobility in states like (TX, LA, MS) but overall negative as well, including GA schools. Although we see suboptimal results, one would hope to see a positive shift in numbers through the coming years.

Additionally, click here to fully interact with a regional approach to mobility rate.


College Characteristics

The factors being addressed: region, selectivity, average cost of attendance, median salary of graduates, demographic of minority, choice of major. When examining all these characteristics it is quite interesting to observe the trends present. Although each variable presents data, there isn’t quite a discernible correlation among multiple variables. For instance, the relatively high selectivity factor does not predict choice of major or cost of attendance, although there is a slight trend in a few states, the concentration of public vs. private institutions plays a bigger role in determining the price tag per say.

 Click here to interact with the college level characteristics of schools in the Southeast.