Reports, data, and stories on upward mobility to help inform the growing conversation and inspire new strategies and new thinking.


Stanford Equality of Opportunity Project

Raj Chetty, Stanford; John Friedman, Brown; Nathan Hendren, Harvard

A defining feature of the “American Dream” is upward income mobility: the ideal that children have a higher standard of living than their parents. Our work shows that children's prospects of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the past half century. Understanding what has led to this erosion of the American Dream — and how we can revive it for future generations — is the motivation for the Equality of Opportunity Project.

Fading Promise: Millennial Prospects in the Golden State

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox - Chapman University Center for Demographics and Policy

"While homeownership rates for California baby boomers are close to the national average, only one in four Californians aged 25 to 34 own a home, the third-worst homeownership rate among states, the report said."


Lifetime Incomes in the United States over Six Decades

Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan, Jae Song, and Justin Weidner - National Bureau of Economic Research

Researchers have answered a big question about the decline of the middle class (Washington Post): "On average, workers born in 1942 earned as much or more over their careers than workers born in any year since, according to new research — and workers on the job today shouldn’t expect to catch up with their predecessors in their remaining years of employment."

Working Class Has the Blues, and Elites Lack Answers (Bloomberg): "A college degree is an increasingly strong predictor of who gets married, who stays married, who is politically and socially engaged, and even who goes to church. Research also shows that especially among white people, college education is an increasingly important predictor of mortality."


California Housing Affordability Report

California Association of Realtors

Only 1 in 3 can afford median-priced California home; situation better in Sacramento (Sacramento Bee): "Only 32 percent of California households could afford to purchase the $496,620 median-priced Golden State home...That marked the 16th consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent and is near the mid-2008 low level of 29 percent."


Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality

McKinsey Global Institute

"Between 2005 and 2014, real incomes in those same advanced economies were flat or fell for 65 to 70 percent of households, or more than 540 million people. And while government transfers and lower tax rates mitigated some of the impact, up to a quarter of all households still saw disposable income stall or fall in that decade."


Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions

Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor

"Breaking new ground in its innovative blend of quantitative and qualitative methods, the book argues that another sort of growth is possible. Offering specific insights for regional leaders and analysts of metropolitan areas, the authors also draw a broader – and quite timely – set of conclusions about how to scale up these efforts to address a U.S. economy still seeking to recover from economic crisis and distributional divisions."


Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn From America’s Metropolitan Regions

Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor

"Combining data, case studies, and emerging narratives on multi-sector collaborations in 11 metro regions, the book offers a powerful prescription not just for metros, but for our national challenges of slow job growth, rising economic inequality, and sharp political polarization."


The Rising Costs of U.S. Income Inequality

Laura Tyson - Berkeley Haas Business and Public Policy Group Institute for Business & Social Impact

"The recovery’s pattern has reinforced longer-run trends. In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners accounted for 38 percent of personal-consumption expenditure, compared to 27 percent in 1995. During that period, the consumption share for the bottom 80 percent of earners dropped from 47 percent to 39 percent."