Financial Security and Mobility

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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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  • The Complex Story of American Debt

    Over the past 30 years, American families have taken on increasing amounts of debt. The growing use of credit among American households, particularly following the Great Recession, has different implications across generations. Although most households have more assets than debt, 80 percent hold some form of debt and that can signal economic opportunity and potential trouble. For example,... Read More

  • Economic Mobility in the United States

    This report examines the transmission of economic advantage across generations using the first comprehensive set of intergenerational elasticity (IGE) estimates—which measure the persistence of advantage—based on tax and other administrative data. The analysis finds that children born into lower-income families can expect very different futures compared with those from higher-income... Read More

  • Americans' Financial Security

    This issue brief seeks to understand Americans’ attitudes about their financial security. It examines the top-level findings from a nationally representative Pew-commissioned survey of more than 7,000 households and from focus groups convened in three major cities. Read More

Media Contact

Sultana Ali

Officer, Communications