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While you can't control the economy, focus on what you can control — the choices you make every day that determine your financial future. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification.

While the mobility and income trends reported above are concerning enough, they mask an even more troubling story for Black and Hispanic households:. Still, gains were larger for white and Hispanic households:. But will it remain racially diverse? Recent work by Raj Chetty and his colleagues shows that while Hispanics have relatively high rates of upward mobility, black Americans are less likely to move up the income ladder and more likely to fall down it. This trend is largely explained by the remarkably high rates of downward mobility among black men.

Among those born into the middle-income quintile, over half of black boys fall into the bottom two quintiles as adults, compared to 40 percent of Hispanics and just over one-third of white men:.

State of the American Dream: Economic Policy and the Future of the Middle Class

Downward mobility is much less common for black girls, suggesting a complicated interaction between being both black and male. These mobility gaps by race can be attributed to various sources, including poverty, family structure, social capital, segregation and racial discrimination. As the recent Chetty et al.

But these neighborhoods are few in number. Racial bias was measured by scores on implicit bias tests and indices of explicit racial bias expressed in Google searches. Place matters. Where you end up depends a great deal not just on your family background and your race but also on where you grew up.

The chance that a child born in the bottom quintile will make it to the top quintile as an adult ranges from around 4 percent in Charlotte to 13 percent in San Jose. Alongside the diverging destinies of individuals is a great divergence in the prosperity of whole communities and regions of the country. Employment and economic growth is far from consistent from one metropolitan or rural area to the next. Because various parts of the country are home to different industries and occupations, trade and technology have had differential impacts by region.

For the first time, the rural population is actually shrinking.

Wealth inequality in the United States - Wikipedia

This, alongside the declining role of manufacturing and mining, means that employment growth, an important contributor to overall economic growth, is waning in many parts of the country:. Most Americans are unlikely to pore over the latest intergenerational mobility statistics.

This lack of optimism for the future is echoed in other signs of social distress. As our colleague Carol Graham documents in her book Happiness for All? In fact, blacks and Hispanics are generally more optimistic than whites , conditional on income.