Kids at the bottom of the income distribution are discouraged by higher levels of income inequality as opposed to being driven by it,” Kearney says. “Low income kids are more likely to drop out of high school than high income kids. But conditional to being low income, kids who are growing up in states or cities characterized by high levels of lower tail income inequality—a greater gap between the bottom and the middle—are more likely to drop out of high school.
Furthermore, African American boys have higher drop out rates than white students in low income groups, especially when living in areas with a large gap in income levels, Robin White Goode reports in Black Enterprise.
Low-income students—particularly boys—who live in states of higher inequality are more likely to drop out of high school than boys who live in states of lower income inequality….The states of higher inequality were all in the South: Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and the District of Columbia (which is not a state, of course). The lower inequality states were all northern: Vermont, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Nebraska.