"Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor" (NYT)
This is a fascinating article from today's New York Times. The big idea of the article focuses on research that shows that "relationships between rich and poor" are a critical catalyst for reducing gnerational poverty.
The effect was profound. The study found that if poor children grew up in neighborhoods where 70 percent of their friends were wealthy — the typical rate of friendship for higher-income children — it would increase their future incomes by 20 percent, on average.
These cross-class friendships — what the researchers called economic connectedness — had a stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition. The people you know, the study suggests, open up opportunities, and the growing class divide in the United States closes them off.
I think this is a really interesting hypothesis and one that resonates on many levels. Within the long Christian tradition of seeking after and working for justice, there is an interwoven narrative of relationships and kinship. This study seems to affirm that idea.
This has profound implications for those of us commited to justice and fighting poverty. If relationships can be a catalyst for change, how do we go about building those authentic relationships?
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas...