Correlation Is Not Causation


(TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains ideas that may cause butthurt feelings in some people.)

The New York Times discovers that where you grow up really matters:

In the wake of the Los Angeles riots more than 20 years ago, Congress created an anti-poverty experiment called Moving to Opportunity. It gave vouchers to help poor families move to better neighborhoods and awarded them on a random basis, so researchers could study the effects.

The results were deeply disappointing. Parents who received the vouchers did not seem to earn more in later years than otherwise similar adults, and children did not seem to do better in school. The program’s apparent failure has haunted social scientists and policy makers, making poverty seem all the more intractable.

Now, however, a large new study is about to overturn the findings of Moving to Opportunity. Based on the earnings records of millions of families that moved with children, it finds that poor children who grow up in some cities and towns have sharply better odds of escaping poverty than similar poor children elsewhere.


Beyond Baltimore, economists say the study offers perhaps the most detailed portrait yet of upward mobility — and the lack of it. The findings suggest that geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream.

How neighborhoods affect children “has been a quandary with which social science has been grappling for decades,” said David B. Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University, who was not involved in the research. “This delivers the most compelling evidence yet that neighborhoods matter in a really big way.”


Many of these places have large African-American populations, and the findings suggest that race plays an enormous but complex role in upward mobility. The nation’s legacy of racial inequality appears to affect all low-income children who live in heavily black areas: Both black and white children seem to have longer odds of reaching the middle class, and both seem to benefit from moving to better neighborhoods.


The places most conducive to upward mobility include large cities — San Francisco, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Providence, R.I. — and major suburban counties, such as Fairfax, Va.; Bergen, N.J.; Bucks, Pa.; Macomb, Mich.; Worcester, Mass.; and Contra Costa, Calif.

These places tend to share several traits, Mr. Hendren said. They have elementary schools with higher test scores, a higher share of two-parent families, greater levels of involvement in civic and religious groups and more residential integration of affluent, middle-class and poor families.

Sometimes the obvious is right in front of your nose.

There is a strong correlation between poverty and crime. Where you find one you also find the other. Liberals look at that correlation and conclude that poverty causes crime. A whole lot of domestic policy over the past 50 years is based on that conclusion.

But you could just as easily conclude that crime causes poverty.

Or maybe both conclusions are wrong. Correlation is not causation. Maybe the things that tend to cause poverty also cause crime. Perhaps crime, poverty, illiteracy, drug use and other social ills are all symptoms of the same disease – a sick sub-culture.

Yesterday I talked about how criminals have different values than the rest of us. So do poor people.

Take education for example. There aren’t a lot of college graduates in prison. We’ve had mandatory education laws in this country for a century, and free public schools. Kids spend thousands of hours attending K-12 classes, not counting homework.

So how do some of these kids fail to obtain basic literacy? It doesn’t happen by accident. All you have to do is show up and pay attention in class, and you’ll learn how to read, write and do arithmetic.

But what if you don’t show up and when you do show up you don’t pay attention?

I grew up in a family and neighborhood where adults worked and paid bills, and didn’t go to prison. Lots of criminals and poor people grow up in families and neighborhoods where adults don’t work or pay bills and occasionally they go to prison. Living in that world kinda warps your expectations and values.

How do you get out of poverty? You work hard, get an education, delay gratification, stay off drugs and don’t commit crimes. If you do those things you are also providing a positive role model for your kids.

The “Moving to Opportunity” program failed because it didn’t change the people, it only changed their addresses. On the other hand, people who work their way out of poverty don’t need to change.

I’m gonna stop here because I need to get this post up and running.



About Myiq2xu™

"If you hit an artery, somebody can bleed out in two minutes."
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116 Responses to Correlation Is Not Causation

  1. Myiq2xu says:

    This post needs more work done on it but I’m too tired and my brain won’t brain right now.

  2. piper says:

    Forgive me for being born white in a poor family who after a 6 year wait immigrated to the US after the WWII. My parents did a terrible job raising us by insisting we learn and speak English, study and pay attention in school plus behave, and made all 3 of us go working our way thru and graduate from college – oh the horror of it.
    I’ll just skedaddled to the dungeon and enjoy a delicious latte and scones unless 49er Dweet gobbled all of them leaving only crumbs which need to swept up. Although I’m a dog person you can send the kittehs down for a cuddle.

  3. Kathy says:

    Interesting study–thanks

  4. piper says:

    Bill needs to pay his bills.

    Cartoons: Gary Varvel for May 6, 2015 — The Patriot Post— Piper (@MerlinBichon) May 6, 2015

  5. Kathy says:

    Peer pressure to not ‘act white’ is so strong in some areas. I’ve seen it in teaching and very few kids can overcome it.

    • elliesmom says:

      I had a young AA woman in my classes who was very bright. Her dad was a Harvard prof, and mom an MD. She as failing all of her classes because “boys don’t like smart girls”. My response, “Your dad married your mom, right?” I offered to publicly berate her for doing poorly if she secretly got the A she was capable of. Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Instead she ended up 16 and pregnant. Yup, peer pressure is strong.

    • SHV says:

      “Peer pressure to not ‘act white’ is so strong in some areas.”
      My MIL taught 4th grade in inner city” schools for 18 years before retiring a few years ago. By the time she retired, it had gotten to the point where some of the AA teachers were ridiculing the few children that were trying to do well with their school work.

    • votermom says:

      This is why a lot of AA parents kids from the neighboring school district send their kids to our charter school. To get them away from the culture of “studying is uncool.”

  6. DeniseVB says:

    This is why I loved Ben Carson’s book “One Nation” and should be required reading in every high school in the country (especially inner city and every juvenile who has to appear before a judge….and liberals). And yes, I’ve mentioned this ad nauseum here and would love to see Carson as the Mayor of Detroit, that would be an awesome experiment 😀

    I totally got the Eminem Gospel Choir announcement intro and I thought it was genius. The original song won an academy award from the movie 8 Mile about another kid that rose from the underbelly of Detroit poverty.

  7. HELENK3 says:

    I went to 13 different schools in 12 years. in middle class neighborhoods and working class neighborhoods. my mother was sick for several years and in and out of the hospital before she died. My dad was not really fatherhood material. I was on my own a lot and eventually went into foster homes. According to that study I would be a failure and on welfare for life. I got a better education in 13 different schools than most college kids get today. I had some great teachers that made us think and look around at the world and be responsible for our selves.
    I found out early in life that no one would do for me but me and it was up to me what kind of life I would have. I worked hard and raised 4 kids without welfare and taught them to survive problems .
    I remember one time when these college students were in a bar where I was and were asking the question What is a Red Herring. When I answered that it was decoy, they were shocked that I knew and started questioning me about my education and why I did not go to college. I think they were doing some kind of class study on the working class and I did not fit their profile. At that time the opportunities for college were not as available as they are now.
    One thing I have learned in life is that you can learn something from everyone either good or bad. Just make sure you take the time to do so.

    • mcnorman says:

      I worked hard and raised 4 kids without welfare and taught them to survive problems .

      You and many others did what you had to do to. You taught your kids coping skills which would enable them to move through life without welfare. That is not the case today. I remember eating popcorn for weeks straight because someone had stolen a paycheck out of our mailbox and cashed it without my signature or ID. I managed to pay my rent and car bills with what I had saved, but the food budget went out the window. It didn’t kill me. Also, there was shame attached to using food stamps. Hurting one’s self esteem by having people stare at you using food stamps was not an issue back then. Today a plastic looking credit card alleviates any odd stares…not. We all know what the card looks like. No way would I have asked for emergency food stamps. It took three weeks for me to get reimbursed. They were a very long three weeks. I understand that there are emergencies, but generational welfare entitlement is not an emergency imho.

      • Somebody says:

        I remember surviving on saltine crackers and slices of that crap Kraft American cheese until I got paid because I had to go to the doctor. As it turned out I had pneumonia, but the doctor visit and prescriptions ate my grocery budget……I survived. Oh and I continued to work with pneumonia because I needed my paycheck and could ill afford to take even a minute off.

        I don’t get generational welfare recipients. I think Klown is right it is a mind set. I think many of them feel like life is hopeless, that there is nothing better. It’s truly tragic and it exists in rural areas as well as urban areas. The Appalachians are rife with poverty. It’s sad to think that our own citizens could feel so hopeless, after all the USA is the land of opportunity or at least it used to be. I know there are some that don’t want to work, they’re lazy or what have you……but surely there is a way to reach and inspire the rest?

        I don’t know what the answer is, but I think reforming our welfare system would be a start. First of all it needs to be more of a hand up than a hand out……teach a man to fish and all that. Plus the strict income cut off limits keep many of the working poor from moving up, they can’t afford to lose all those benefits, it’s a catch 22. I think something more of a sliding scale makes a lot more sense……..that is if your true goal is independence. I also think some kind of lifetime limit might provide an incentive to those that can’t manage to otherwise find any incentive.

        No changes to our welfare system or anything else will work unless there are opportunities for employment. Our open borders and liberal visa programs have in essence helped kick out the first couple of rungs on the ladder of success in many areas. We need to address that, but as long as corporate money flows freely to both sides of the aisle it won’t happen…..easy lobbyist money and cheap labor trumps the needs of the citizens and has for a long time.

        • mcnorman says:

          You are very right about how the open borders and liberal visa programs have helped screw those who need a hand.

        • Myiq2xu says:

          There are people who will not work unless they have to, and even then they will find ways to shirk and malinger. To me the most stunning is people who behave like parasites on society but turn around and complain that their welfare benefits aren’t generous enough.

          Anybody who claims that welfare money and food stamps aren’t getting spent on drugs, cigarettes and alcohol is an ignorant fool.

          Yes, white people do it too. So do Asians and Hispanics. It’s not a racial thing.

      • HELENK3 says:

        I worked with many woman just like me who were helping support their kids and give them a better life. These were women of all races. We worked 2nd shift and our husbands worked daylight. That way one of us was home with the kids and they were not left with babysitters for any length of time.
        we all had the same goals. Some where along the line those goals are lost today. I really do not understand why. Now you have the government saying we should raise your kids not you. When I hear that I think of the phrase ” close enough for government work” and do not think that is good enough for kids

        • mcnorman says:

          I worked multiple part time jobs for decades so that I could be available for my kid’s teachers as well. I volunteered many times when I should have not been adding to the sleep deficit. My neighbors did the same thing. One worked graveyard for over 20 years so that she was available for every extracurricular activity as well. She was volunteering painting sets, sewing costumes, chaperone for school trips, etc. to ensure that the kids got the best opportunities possible. IMHO, parents need to raise their kids. There are no perfect parents. Far too much responsibility has been given away to entities which should never be first in line doling out wisdom. Kids don’t need so many thingys, but they do need guidance.

  8. HELENK3 says:


  9. mothy67 says:

    The New York Times is a joke. They lie over and over again. Megyn collar says Santa is white FOX is inundated.
    Kathy Genovese story complete fabrication by a NY Ti m es writer. People did not watch her get murdered and do nothing. It was a made up story. Completely false if you go to wikipeda you have tobread to the end of the article to find out it was the Times

  10. mothy67 says:

    Happy note my best friend in lifes husband was on CNN last night. We lived together in Philly for 5 years. SHe is apart of me one night I had gone to Hepburn’s a lesbian bar in Philly being sexist I insisted on walking my friend to her car. I left her went into WAWa bought s cheese hoagie, a box of chocholate covered ronuts and a USA Today. I walked ou to gunbfire. Woman shot in the head. I did not think just put my hands on her wounds. She was shot in the headthe cops did nt wait for an ambulsnce they pcked us both up and took us to Hanamann. All she said through garbled blood is I cannot die I have three children. She lost a ton o f blood a few teeth and so m e tongue but she lived. The cops had me csll her husband. I found the number on a caboe bill in her purse.
    IVwas competejt during the ordeal but when I got home I was covered in blood and suddenly very scsred. I walked into her room a n d said I cann o t be alone. 5 6 in the morning she said fine. I said nothing just went to sleep.
    Talk about trust. Well we both ended up in NYC last night her husband was on CNN. I have llost friends since 2008. I was afraid to watch he works at the hague and argues in front of t h e fouth cicuit. He was on CNN last night and he was common sense. My friend not being married to a political tool is somehow now a standard.

  11. lyn says:

    FLOTUS was at the opening of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art on April 30th, and she made it about race … and herself.
    Michelle Obama said many young people in America look at museums and other cultural institutions “and they think to themselves, ‘Well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood.'”
    She added: “And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself. So I know that feeling of not belonging in a place like this.”

    • DandyTIger says:

      I give her a pass on the comment in general, because there is a cultural gap with museum attendance. But it’s rather pointless to make the point a zillion people have already made. So what’s her solution?

    • angienc says:

      Unless and until museums and other cultural institutions *forbid* black people from entering, Michelle Obama is just projecting her own insecurities onto them. Her inferiority complex is not my problem. IF black people don’t want to go to such places in the same % as white people do, that also is not my problem.
      She needs to stop trying to create bullshit “problems” where none exist.

  12. angienc says:


    That is the most important factor IMO and it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should.
    That isn’t to say that many single mothers (or fathers) aren’t do a great job and are on the fast-track to sainthood — but the young, single mother family unit has practically become the norm, rather than the exception, especially among the poor. And THAT is a huge part of the problem.

  13. votermom says:


  14. DandyTIger says:

    Lots of noise on the tweeting interwebs about Pam Geller and the event, esp. from libs that it’s hate speech and therefor not protected. And in general, being provocative like that kind of deserves what they got. Which if I’m not mistaken, is pretty much the same as blaming a rape victim based on where she was or what she was wearing.

    • lyn says:

      Isn’t Kareem a rich guy? Ferguson gave us the election of 2014. If the oppressed and their enablers behave badly up to 2016, I think Republicans will control everything.

  15. lyn says:

    “A 31-year-old concealed carrier is being hailed as a hero in Orem, Utah, after stepping in to stop an attempted carjacking committed by a man with felony warrants who was attempting to escape from police.”

  16. Myiq2xu says:
  17. Myiq2xu says:

    The pictures are real but the tweets are fake. The pics are real images of black people waving guns around and showing off stolen loot. There WAS looting in Baltimore. But the pictures ARE NOT of Baltimore looters.

  18. HELENK3 says:

    Baltimore and Black Dignity
    a very thought provocative article

  19. TheRealKim says:
    Just wondered if any of you had seen this article. I think I posted a few weeks ago something about a Walmart refusing and was shut down because for some reason Walmart could not refuse. Evidently, they can and they have.

  20. Myiq2xu says:

    Stop breaking the law.

  21. Myiq2xu says:

  22. foxyladi14 says:

    Pants up, Don’t loot. 😀

  23. DeniseVB says:

    After a loooong weekend with the grands in Colorado, who are superduper smarties, my son wants them to go military after h.s. He said there’s no way public schools are preparing kids for real life, plus he’s well aware of the GI bill. He also knows his cousin did 4 years in the Coast Guard and got a 2 year credit for the Freshman and Sophmore years, and Junior, Senior years paid for. Funny that Obama’s isn’t pushing that track, huh?

  24. HELENK3 says:

    judge who freed Garland terrorist has close ties to la raza and backtrack

  25. Myiq2xu says:

    • DandyTIger says:

      Reminds me of Saint Travon of the sidewalk. According to his girlfriend who was on the phone with him at the the time, he thought the guy following was gay, so he was going to go kill him because he was gay. A clear hate crime.

  26. Myiq2xu says:

    For many years the unions, environmentalists and big business have all urged policies that made it profitable to send manufacturing jobs overseas. (In the case of the unions it was unintentional but the effect is the same.)

    There just aren’t enough professional and tech jobs available to give everyone a high-paying college-degree job, nor are there enough service industry jobs to eliminate unemployment and give poor people a path from poverty to prosperity. Add massive illegal immigration to the mix and you have a recipe for misery.

  27. NewOrleans says:

    Anyone catch Megyn Kelly’s interview with Richard Fowler last night about Free Speech?

    Richard Fowler never disappoints in expressing his abject cluelessness, but last night, he even outdid himself. I can’t recall ever hearing/watching a more profoundly ignorant talking head EVER on TV.

    The money quote:
    RICHARD FOWLER: How we beat terrorism is with love, not hate.

    • 49erDweet says:

      You can take that literally by “dispatching ” all potential jihadists to their waiting virgins, right? Wouldn’t that be “love”?

  28. HELENK3 says:

    what is this jade helm thing?
    maybe if backtrack was a president the could be trusted to do what is best for the country , it would not be so worrisome. But he is not and this thing is

  29. Myiq2xu says:
  30. Myiq2xu says:
  31. Myiq2xu says:


    New York’s elite dedicated a $420 million building for the Whitney Museum on Monday. The event featured various luminaries and politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, celebritect Renzo Piano, and Michelle Obama.

    Instead of merely congratulating the museum staff and praising their mission, the First Lady decided to lecture them about diversity. One of her claims struck me as quite odd:

    “You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum. And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself.”

    In a story on her speech, public radio station WNYC identified the vast majority of American museums as “white spaces” that are inherently unwelcoming to minorities.

    I have been to several Chicago museums on many occasions. Whether I was at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, or the Museum of Science and Industry, the bustling crowds were made up of every ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Buses brought in schoolkids from each neighborhood in Chicago and every ‘burb surrounding it. I’m sure a young Michelle Obama participated in similar field trips many times.

    And it’s not as if she grew up in poverty, relegated to the South Side’s infamous housing projects like some of my friends. The First Lady had a thoroughly middle-class upbringing in a stable, nuclear family. Her excellent grades got her into Chicago’s superb Whitney Young Magnet High School where she was given one of the finest secondary educations in the state.

    Did this smart, successful student actually think Chicago’s many popular museums were closed to “someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood?” Did she “never in a million years dream” she would be welcome in these cultural centers, even though her school must have had field trips to most of them? I find this very hard to believe.

    Michelle Obama has had a remarkably successful life. From all accounts, she was a happy, high-achieving child, earned degrees at Princeton and Harvard, was the wife of a U.S. Senator and now lives in the world’s most famous mansion. She graces magazine covers, is lauded on television shows, and even gets invited to speak at the dedication of high-end art museums.

    So why does she continue to identify herself and “people like her” as oppressed, aggrieved victims rather than strong, capable winners? I know it’s de rigueur to make every issue a “teachable moment,” but is there any indication that America’s many museums are “off-limits to people of color?”

    • Mt.Laurel says:

      This mirrors my thoughts rather closely. MO plays the victim card again and again yet she was raised in a solid middle class environment and had far more advantages than most children regardless of their racial//ethnic heritage.

      I have known a lot of people like this in DC. Those who know the backgrounds in greater detail rat them out as pompous pretenders who would not last a day on their own in the “hood”

    • leslie says:

      How odd. She made the emergency room at University of Chicago a “white space” – it is still “off limits” to many people of color. You know why the museums in Chicago are “white spaces”? They aren’t. They all have free admission days throughout the year (it used to be 52 days) to all Illinois residents. BUT you need an ID card that shows you live in state.
      ooooohhh that’s what makes them “white spaces”. Those pesky IDs. The same ones needed to collect SSI and SSDI checks and to cash them at the currency exchanges.

    • 49erDweet says:

      She suffers from “living white” guilt, and no washing at the sink will remove it.

  32. Myiq2xu says:

    Sweet Jeebus:

    • Myiq2xu says:

      Many Americans are descended from people who came here fleeing horrible oppression. Many of them faced discrimination when they got here.

      Go back far enough and we are all descended from slaves.

    • swanspirit says:

      Part of white privilege for me was being limited to specific blocks in specific neighborhoods, and going outside those parameters, even in broad daylight, was extremely dangerous, going out at night alone , being female and white, out of the question. When I walked my yellow lab to the park, I use to try and keep him on a short leash to make him seem more intimidating. He was too friendly and most of the time it didn’t really work, but it did help that I had a large dog. I could go on …but I need to get back to bed.

  33. SHV says:

    “American museums as “white spaces” that are inherently unwelcoming to minorities.”
    Last year wife and I were in Boston and went to the Museum of Science on a Sunday afternoon. While we were there, I estimated that at least half the people were South West or East Asian families. There were some AA children but most were in groups with mostly White adults leading. A pretty stark example of culture likely having a major impact on academic outcomes.

  34. leslie says:

    Is there a problem with Legal Insurrection? Is it down? did it go off-line?

    • DandyTIger says:

      Let’s see, this time the powers that be won’t want Hillary, but will want the GOP. So like when they wanted Obama, a big market mess, say around October, would be pretty handy. Nothing like a little market manipulation.

      • Lulu says:

        That may be the plan but it is too early. When shit goes down it has to be close enough to the election that people can’t figure out what is going on but early enough to spin it. I think late summer 2016 is when things will go tits up. And since they did it in 2008 it may not work this time. The Fed and various federal agencies will keep the disinfo flowing until then to keep the economy limping along.

  35. Myiq2xu says:

    It’s gonna be a while before I have anything to post. If somebody else wants to do an open thread that would be nice.

  36. HELENK3 says:

    nah there are no agendas in the Baltimore police prosecution.
    i am 21 years old and look like Linda Darnell

  37. HELENK3 says:

    I hope this cartoon shows

  38. mothy67 says:

    When i access this site on my desktop windows tells me only showing secure info then it closes on its own does the same thing with twitchy and Breitbart. I think Breitbart because there are soooooo many ads but you have none and works fine on kin d le and phone.

  39. mothy67 says:

    I was trying to figure out why sharptonbis still given any credence. His presence immediately alienates a vast swath of people. He is a proven liar and borderline illiterate. Why would anyone align them self with him. All i can come up with is that he is a place holder. Obama wants the role when he is out of office. Sharpton prevents a new voice from being heard. 2017 with o as the voice of black America will control the Democratic party. I have tried to walk around this but I can come up eith nothing else. His ratings are abysmal yet he doesn’t get canned. I think obama is keeping him in play so no one else can step up then al goes under the bus.

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