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capital or income that escapes an economy or system in the context of a circular flow of income model.

Adding population data to EOP’s county estimates, we find that prosperity and mobility (as well as distress and immobility) are most strongly correlated in rural areas—counties with under 100,000 people. Prosperous rural areas can provide a significantly greater boost to children than even prosperous urban areas, suggesting that the quintessential engine of economic mobility may not be the urban melting pots of Horatio Alger-style myth, but rather the small town communities of the Upper Midwest. Cities, however, are more consistent: 50 percent of large urban counties (those with more than 500,000 people) provide an income boost to poor kids, compared to only 43 percent of rural counties for which we have data.The many different realities of the American Dream

Next we zoom in on the ends of the spectrum of American experiences by examining economic mobility in the country’s most prosperous and most distressed counties (the top and bottom quintiles of well-being on the DCI). What emerges is a mosaic of places—an American reality in which the dual promises of prosperity and mobility fall into four categories depending on where one looks and where one lives: alive and wellwithin reach against the oddsfenced off, or a distant prospect. Here we’ll explore each reality in turn: