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America - The Land of Equal Opportunity for All?

Americans take pride in living in a land of opportunity, where you can "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and succeed in the face of adversity. But recent research shows that old adage may not be true, depending on where in the country you live.

Residents of states in the Mideast and New England regions are more likely to move up on the economic ladder than anywhere in the country, while Southern states suffered through the opposite trend, according to a new study from the Pew Center on the States.

The information "answers questions integral to the fabric of our nation, for example: Is the American dream alive and well?" according to Pew Economic Mobility Project research manager Diana Elliott. "It's interesting that data at the state level shows that there might not be equal opportunity [everywhere]."


"Mobility doesn't happen in a vacuum, a lot of things happen that cause people to get ahead and fall behind," said Erin Currier, project manager for the Pew Economic Mobility Project.


"It's extremely difficult to get long data that looks at people over a long period of time," Currier said. "We were able to work with a researcher who had access to restricted-use census data."

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Economic Mobility Project
Economic Mobility
Maryland, New Jersey, New York
Erin Currier

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