11/06/2011 - Is it still possible to move up the economic ladder in the U.S.? Has the American dream become just that - a dream? As we found out from our social media callout, those questions are on the minds of many families like the Spoerners.
So for some answers to those questions, we turn to Erin Currier, who leads the Pew Charitable Trust's Economic Mobility Project. Her team recently released a report on the mobility of middle-class families. The report defines middle class as a family of four making between $50,000 and $110,000 a year. Researchers at Pew were trying to figure out how such a family manages to move up, down, or just maintain their place on the economic ladder.
Currier's team found that one in three Americans raised in the middle class fall out of the middle as adults. But Currier says that statistic only tells part of the story of social mobility in America today. To get the full picture, you need to look at both absolute and relative mobility.
Listen to American Dream For Middle Class: Just A Dream? or read a transcript on the NPR Web site.