U.S. Economic Mobility Lags Behind Other Industrialized Countries

The ability to rise from humble beginnings through hard work and perseverance is a core American ideal. But at least five studies in recent years have found that when it comes to economic mobility, the U.S. actually lags behind its peers in Canada and most of Western Europe. According to one, 65 percent of Americans born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths as adults, while 62 percent of those born in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths. Today, the New York Times reports that because of mass unemployment and the Occupy movement, discussion about the mobility gap has taken center stage.