Children from low-income families who have rich peer friends are more likely to earn more when they grow up than those who do not. This is said by scientists from Harvard, who conducted a study among 72 million Americans aged 25 to 44 years.
The authors of the work decided to test the theory according to which the presence of social ties and the environment can help a person get out of poverty. To do this, scientists used anonymized data from social networks and machine learning algorithms that calculate the socio-economic status of a person. The information obtained was compared with the average income of peers living in the user’s region. In addition, the researchers determined the cost of smartphones from which people access social networks.
The median household income was $58,000. According to this indicator, scientists divided the sample participants into two categories – those who earned significantly less, and those who had a higher income.
The results of the data analysis showed that more successful people had rich childhood friends. Among people from this group, approximately 70% of associates are well-to-do people, while the poorer ones had an average of 38.6%.
The scientists also found that people with different levels of wealth rarely intersect in real life, which greatly complicates networking. According to statistics, approximately 30% of acquaintances were tied up in the same school, church or area. With age, the probability of meeting a new friend from a different social stratum decreases sharply.
The study shows that society needs a different approach to solving the problem of social mobility. We are talking about the spread of mixed schools and the integration of people with different backgrounds into a single society, the scientists noted.
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