Summary of Is the American dream alive or dead?

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The American Dream has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially from those who have become frustrated in their attempts to achieve it. While the accepted wisdom is that everyone has an equal shot at upward mobility, the reality is quite another. This enlightening article from the Economic Innovation Group provides hard evidence of where the American Dream is thriving and where it is falling short. getAbstract recommends it to economists, politicians and anyone interested in mobility trends in the United States. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the American Dream of universal upward mobility does not translate into reality;
  • How location, social status and other factors influence upward mobility; and
  • Which areas of the country foster the American Dream among disadvantaged youth, and which ones fall short. 
 

About the Author

The Economic Innovation Group is a public policy entity specializing in entrepreneurship, economics and communities.

 

Summary

Americans believe that, if they work hard enough, they can live a better life. But for many people, that vision does not translate into reality. The ability to ascend beyond one’s birth status depends heavily on location, economic class and other factors beyond individuals’ control. In a study of 2,869 US counties, those defined as prosperous offer the most fertile ground for upward mobility, particularly for children from poorer backgrounds. At the same time, income inequality in poor counties makes it more difficult for needy children to climb the social ladder than for children from wealthier backgrounds. Today, 60% of those under the age of 18 live in counties where disadvantaged youth are thwarted in achieving the American Dream. 


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