Financial Security and Mobility

Why Financial Security and 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. An emerging body of research indicates that savings and assets play an integral role in both a family’s short-term financial health and their ability to move up the economic ladder over time. Pew research published in 2013 found that households that left the bottom of the income ladder had six times more savings than those that did not. As policymakers seek to foster economic opportunity, it’s critical that their decisions be informed by a robust and nonpartisan fact base on the status of family balance sheets, and the importance of family financial capital for achieving the American Dream.

How We Conduct Our Work

The project researches family finances to inform the public and policymakers on ways to improve the financial well-being of all Americans. The initiative seeks to understand the impacts of short-term savings on economic stability for different types of families and the major factors that promote and inhibit financial health and upward mobility.

Research & Analysis

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  • 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. But, as was the case for many women in the previous generation, men's earnings continue to matter most for families' income and economic mobility. Read More

  • 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 Metropolitan areas where the wealthy and poor live apart have lower mobility than areas where residents are more economically integrated. Read More

  • Moving On Up

    Most Americans raised at the bottom of the income ladder never reach the middle rung This report, “Moving On Up,” examines the traits of those who are able to move up from their starting place at the bottom of the income ladder to the second rung, or even to the middle of the income distribution.  Read More

Media Contact

Mark Wolff

Director, Communications

202.540.6390