Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America

Ron Haskins,
Ron Haskins Senior Fellow Emeritus - Economic Studies

Julia B. Isaacs, and
Julia B. Isaacs Former Brookings Expert, Senior Fellow - Urban Institute
Isabel V. Sawhill

February 20, 2008

Americans have long believed that those who work hard can achieve success and that each generation will be better off than the last one. This belief has made Americans more tolerant of growing inequality than the citizens of other advanced nations. But how much opportunity to get ahead actually exists in America? In this new volume, Brookings scholars Julia Isaacs, Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins summarize research and provide new evidence on both the extent of intergenerational mobility in the United States and the factors that influence it.

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By Strobe Talbott and Rebecca W. Rimel

By Isabel V. Sawhill

I Economic Mobility of Families Across Generations
By Julia B. Isaacs

II Trends in Intergenerational Mobility
By Isabel V. Sawhill

III International Comparisons of Economic Mobility
By Julia B. Isaacs

IV Wealth and Economic Mobility
By Ron Haskins

V Economic Mobility of Men and Women
By Julia B. Isaacs

VI Economic Mobility of Black and White Families
By Julia B. Isaacs

VII Immigration: Wages, Education, and Mobility
By Ron Haskins

VIII Education and Economic Mobility
By Ron Haskins


Key Findings