Across the United States, the number of children who are under the age of five is approximately the same as the number who are between age five and 10. Both groups are equal five-year cohorts.
But in many of our nation’s poor communities, some children unfortunately seem to disappear when they reach elementary school age. Take Durham County, as an example. The most recent Census indicates there are 3,252 fewer five- to 10-year-olds living in Durham than we should expect, given the number of preschool children who live there.
Of course, we know where these children have gone: Next door. Chapel Hill and Orange County have an extra 1,100 elementary-age children, and thousands more reside in Cary and areas of Wake County not far from the Durham County line.
What force seems to be driving families across the county lines? It’s school assignments. Middle class families flock to the areas with good assigned schools, and they avoid areas where they perceive that schools are bad.
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