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Pew Debuts "Road Map" for Improving Economic Mobility

November 9, 2009 - 2:22pm

Pew's Economic Mobility Project (EMP) released a new report today, "Renewing the American Dream: A Road Map to Enhancing Economic Mobility in America." The report comes from the Principals of the EMP, leaders from Brookings, Heritage, AEI, Urban and New America (our own Ray Boshara to be exact). 

The "Road Map" reflects the intent of this diverse group of thinkers that "more can and must be done to make the American Dream accessible to all Americans," and provides more than 25 policy recommendations for improving human capital, social capital and the ability of Americans to build financial capital. 

EMP's work in recent years has gone a long way toward clarifying the realities of economic mobility in the United States--and the American Dream doesn't always meet perfectly with the facts at hand.

"42% of Americans born to parents on the bottom rung of the income ladder...remain at the bottom as adults--a figure that is nearly twice the percentage seen in many other industrialized nations.

For certain groups, upward mobility from one generation to the next is even less likely to occur. Women experience less upward mobility and more downward mobility than men. African Americans are more likely to remain stuck at the bottom of the income ladder and to fall from the middle-income rung than are whites. Strikingly, almost half of children born to middle-income black parents fall to the bottom rung as adults, compared to only 16 percent of middle-income white children."

 This is a wake-up call from a very diverse group of thinkers. One of the recommendations in the Road Map which we've often talked about is the importance of reforming asset limits in public assistance programs in order to remove the disincentive to save and encourage the formation of a stable economic foundation for low-income Americans. 

Read the whole report.