Media Coverage

America the Mobile?

The acid test of the American Dream is whether people can rise beyond the circumstances of their birth.

With Occupy Wall Street doing for income inequality what the Tea Party did for debt, the state of the American Dream is more and more central to the political debate. Are we divided between the top 1 percent and a vast wasteland of the dispossessed, as many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters have it? Or are we still the land of opportunity, as top House Republican Paul Ryan insisted in a recent speech at the Heritage Foundation? 

Are we better off than our parents? Yes. According to Scott Winship of the Brookings Institution, data from the Pew Economic Mobility Project show that two-thirds of 40-year-old Americans are in households with greater incomes than their parents had when they were 40. Adjusting for the size of the households—they are smaller than previously—four fifths of Americans have surpassed their parents. Nearly everyone has been on an up escalator.

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Economic Mobility Project

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