Archived Project

Economic Mobility Project

Pew’s financial security and mobility project studies the financial well-being of American families and how their balance sheets relate to both short-term financial stability and longer-term economic mobility.  The initiative builds on Pew research that shows savings and assets are key to moving up the economic ladder, both within a lifetime and across generations. The project will next be exploring how family financial decisions, including those related to savings and assets, influence financial security and mobility.

Why Economic 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. As policy makers seek to foster equality of opportunity, it’s critical that their decisions be informed by a robust and nonpartisan fact base on economic mobility.

Factors that Help or Hinder Economic Mobility

Economic mobility is influenced by a variety of factors including education, neighborhoods, savings, and family structure. Pew also strives to understand differences in mobility by income, race, and gender.

How We Conduct Our Work

Pew conducts research on economic mobility to inform policy makers and the public debate. We look at questions such as: How do children's opportunities to achieve the American Dream compare to those of their parents? To what extent is mobility affected by wealth, gender, race, and education? How do people’s mobility prospects differ depending on where they live?

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Economic Mobility and the American Dream

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Mother and daughter
Mother and daughter
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Women and Economic Mobility

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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.

Our Work