Economic Mobility

The American Dream Is Harder To Find In Some Neighborhoods

Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder? A new online data tool being made public Monday finds a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream. Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has been working with a team of researchers on this tool — the first of its kind because it marries U.S. Census Bureau data with data from the Internal Revenue Service.

A Very Uneven Playing Field: Economic Mobility in the United States

We present results from a new data set, the Statistics of Income Mobility Panel, that has been assembled from tax and other administrative sources to provide evidence on economic mobility and persistence in the United States. This data set allows us …

The American Dream Abides

Is the American dream on life support? That’s the perennial claim of “declinists,” who are convinced that the American spirit of opportunity is at death’s door. That claim was recently bolstered by research from a team of top economists, who found that half of today’s 30-year-olds are worse off than their parents were at the same age. A closer look at that study, however, reveals that opportunity is alive and well.

Is the American Dream Really Dead?

Let’s start today with a pop quiz. Here we go: in 1970, what percentage of 30-year-olds in America earned more money than their parents had earned at that age? Adjusted for inflation, of course. That’s question No. 1. And question No. 2: what percentage of American 30-year-olds today earn more than their parents earned at age 30? I’ll give you a second to think it over. All right, you ready for the answer?

The American Dream, Quantified at Last

The phrase “American dream” was invented during the Great Depression. It comes from a popular 1931 book by the historian James Truslow Adams, who defined it as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” In the decades that followed, the dream became a reality. Thanks to rapid, widely shared economic growth, nearly all children grew up to achieve the most basic definition of a better life — earning more money and enjoying higher living standards than their parents had.

America Is Even Less Socially Mobile Than Most Economists Thought

A Pew report out today tells us things about American social mobility that are new—and at the same time all too familiar. Scads of reports have documented how parents’ income dictates how financially successful someone will go on to be. But this report suggests the effects are at the high end of previous estimates. “One might think we’d have nailed it by now, but there was some uncertainty,” says David Grusky, the director of Stanford’s Center on Poverty and Inequality and an author of the report.

Economic Mobility in the United States

The principle of equal opportunity holds so distinguished a place in U.S. history that it even appears in drafts of the country’s founding documents. This idea has been interpreted in various ways, but it is typically understood to mean that success …

New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility Using Administrative Data

This report presents analyses of a new data set, the Statistics of Income Mobility Panel, that has been assembled to provide new evidence on economic mobility and the implications of tax policy for economic mobility. Because the data are of unusually …

The Other American Dream: Social Mobility, Race and Opportunity

Today, President Obama is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The March on Washington was for jobs, as well as freedom – indeed for the freedom that a job brings. Civil rights still have to be defended. Jobs have to be created and fairly allocated. But the most pernicious racial divide today is in social mobility: in the opportunity gap between a child born white, and a child born black.

U.S. Economic Mobility: The Dream and the Data

Economic mobility is a core principle of the American narrative and the basis for the American Dream. However, research suggests that the United States may not be as mobile as Americans believe. The United States has high absolute mobility in the …