Southern Ontario — the most populous part of Canada lying north of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie — displays a similar bottom to top quintile mobility as adjacent regions in Michigan, Ohio, and New York State, most regions being categorized in the 0.05 to 0.10 range. This said, some areas of Quebec adjacent to New York State, Vermont, and New Hampshire display a lower probability than their counterparts in Ontario and New England. Regions with rather high chances of escaping low income and rising to the very top quintile cover the American midwest, where in most Commuting Zones the probability is more than 20 percent, similar probabilities being experienced in the adjacent regions of western Canada.
That is from a new paper by Marie Connolly, Miles Corak, and Catherine Haeck. I take that to be fairly strong evidence for the “culture matters” view of mobility, rather than the “policy is everything” view.
To the extent the United States has lower mobility than Canada, it is largely because so many people here live in the low-mobility regions of the American South.