Kids Are Most Likely To Become More Educated Than Their Parents In These 10 Countries

Hint: the U.S. isn't one of them.

In 2016, The Atlantic illustrated educational inequality in America using a tale of two cities: well-off Greenwich, Connecticut, where children have  everything from personal laptops  and access to school psychologists, and nearby Bridgeport, an area with higher poverty and fewer tools accessible to students and educators. Educational inequality is stark in the United States, and parents with higher incomes and more education are more likely to produce kids who will have the same advantages than parents with less resources are. 

Which begs the question: which countries are effectively narrowing the educational gap?  A recent study by the World Bank measures the chances of upward mobility across generations. A blog post on the World Bank's site summed up researchers' focus with the following question: "If you are born into a low-income family, what are the chances that you will rise higher regardless of your background?"

That question is doubly important because, per Quartz, being able to track and analyze upward mobility trends can aid in ending global poverty. Ambar Narayan, author of the report, and lead economist with the Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank, told the World Bank that the new study can influence policy actions.

"Based on access to unprecedented amounts of data, the report paints a detailed picture of socioeconomic mobility across generations for most of the world's population. While the current picture is sobering, there is some cause for optimism, which also suggests that policy actions matter a great deal in improving mobility."

Even though the U.S. is a higher income country, it is more comparable to lower income countries such as China and Iraq when measured on equality and opportunity. 

The top 10 countries where kids exceeded their parents' education levels are: 


1. Denmark

A group of Danish school students at a zoo in Copenhagen. Anna50 /

2. The Philippines

Girls walking to primary school in Port Barton, The Phillipines in 2017. Michal Zizlavsky /

3. The U.K.

Primary school students on an excursion to Windsor Castle in 2017. T.W. van Urk /

4. Sweden

Teens celebrate their graduation in Stockholm, Sweden. Hans Christiansson /

5. Japan

Japanese students smile and talk as they walk down the street in Kamakura in 2017. sergio capuzzimati /

6. Russia

NOVOKUZNETSK, KEMEROVO REGION, RUSSIA - SEP, 1, 2017: First-grade students and teacher are in school classroom at first lesson. The day of knowledge in Russia. Smile19 /

7. Germany

Students study at Humbold University Library in 2014. katatonia82 /

8. The Netherlands

A dance workshop with children held in Oosterpark, Amsterdam in 2016. Melanie Lemahieu /

9. South Korea

A group of students on a field trip in Seoul. BaitoeyPYN /

10. Morocco

Children in a classroom in Fez, Morocco. Dinozzzaver /

"Greater economic mobility leads to faster economic growth and poverty reduction," Roy Van der Weide, co-author of the report told the World Bank. "It can also boost social cohesion and stability, with people living in more mobile societies likely to be more optimistic about their future."

(H/T: Quartz.)

Cover image via  DoublePHOTO studio / Shutterstock.


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