Two Harvard economists looked at 20 years of data and have determined where kids are raised actually affects their income levels when they grow up. That's good news for kids growing up in Eastern Iowa.

It turns out "location" isn't just a real estate term. It has a huge impact on future earnings, according to Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, the Harvard economists. Their research shows the earlier kids move to Iowa, the better they'll do on average. Kids who make the move early in life are also more likely to go to college, make more money, AND not as likely to be single parents. I guess you better tell your friends and relatives in other states to high-tail it to Iowa.

The research honed in on each county and income levels to help determine how much more money you'd make by age 26 if you grew up in a specific place. The study led to this interactive map where you can get more in-depth information on each county. Here's a look at the top 10 counties in the surrounding areas:

  • 1


    A child that grew up in Cedar County in an average-income family would make $5,120 more by age 26. That equates to 15 percent more than someone who grew up in an average location in the United States. The numbers are based on living in Cedar County through age 20. The research shows living there adds $256 each year to your annual income by age 26.

  • 2


    Children growing up in Delaware County should make approximately $5,070 in additional income by age 26. That's 15 percent more than the national average.

  • 3


    A youth raised in Buchanan County should make $4960 more by age 26 or 15 percent more than the U.S. average.

  • 4


    Raising a child in Iowa County? They can expect to earn 15 percent more than the U.S. average or a total of $4920 by age 26.

  • 5


    No doubt a sign of the good people of Sigourney (my hometown), Keokuk County youth can expect to bring in a total of $4780 more than the national average by age 26. It equates to 14 percent above average.

  • 6


    We enter the lower half of the top five with Jackson County where young people can earn $4730 more by age 26, still 14 percent above the national average.

  • 7


    Jones County checks in at number seven on the list at 13 percent or $4480 more by age 26.

  • 8


    Young people being raised in Poweshiek County should earn 13 percent more by age 26 or $4320.

  • 9


    The study shows kids raised in Benton County will earn $4140 more by age 26 than the average American youth. A solid 12 percent above normal levels.

  • 10


    Rounding out the Top 10 is Tama County where the numbers are $3660 or 11 percent. Living in the vicinity of Highway 30 is definitely a good thing for these kids.

More From 104-5 KDAT