Economic Mobility Project

Economic Mobility Project



Pew’s Economic Mobility Project focuses public attention on the ability to move up or down the economic ladder within a lifetime or from one generation to the next. By forging broad, nonpartisan agreement on the facts and drivers of mobility, the project fosters policy debate and action on how best to improve economic opportunity and ensure that the American Dream is kept alive for future generations. The project will next be exploring how family financial decisions, including those related to savings and assets, influence financial security and mobility.

Why Economic Mobility Matters

For more than two centuries, economic opportunity and upward mobility have formed the foundation of the American Dream, and they remain at the core of our nation's identity. As policy makers seek to foster equality of opportunity, it’s critical that their decisions be informed by a robust and nonpartisan fact base on economic mobility.  

Factors that Help or Hinder Economic Mobility

Economic mobility is influenced by a variety of factors including education, neighborhoods, savings, and family structure. Pew also strives to understand differences in mobility by income, race, and gender.

How We Conduct Our Work

Pew conducts research on economic mobility to inform policy makers and the public debate. We look at questions such as: How do children's opportunities to achieve the American Dream compare to those of their parents? To what extent is mobility affected by wealth, gender, race, and education? How do people’s mobility prospects differ depending on where they live?


April 1, 2014

Women's Work: The Economic Mobility of Women Across a Generation

This study demonstrates that women’s increased labor force participation and earnings have enabled some families to maintain their places on the economic ladder or, particularly among families at the bottom, to move up. More
December 4, 2013

Mobility and the Metropolis

This report shows that neighborhoods play an important role in determining a family’s prospects of moving up the economic ladder. More
November 7, 2013

Moving On Up

A new report examines the traits of Americans who are able to move up from their starting place at the bottom of the income ladder. More
September 17, 2013

Faces of Economic Mobility

When it comes to economic mobility, which families are likely to fare better than their parents? We invite you to explore this interactive tool as it reveals the traits of families that experience upward mobility and, conversely, those that find themselves stuck in their positions on—or falling down—the economic ladder. More
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