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Puerto Rico Bankruptcy: How Did it End

Closing discussion

This analysis stitched together snapshots of current economic well-being (from the DCI) with historical data on economic mobility (from the EOP) and found that the vital signs of the American Dream vary significantly depending on where one looks. Most children in the United States are growing up today in counties with a poor record of fostering upward mobility. As the geography of U.S. economic growth narrows, it may become even harder to prevent further retreat of economic mobility.

Even growing up amid robust economic growth cannot secure upward mobility for many disadvantaged children. Economic segregation, failing schools, and other factors can interrupt the translation of regional prosperity into mobility for all. EOP researchers identified five characteristics of places that bolster mobility: low levels of segregation, both in terms of income and race; low income inequality; good schools; low rates of violent crime; and high shares of children living in two-parent households. These values can serve as common grounds for policymakers to come together in the years ahead.

If the American Dream is to become more accessible, the country needs a more geographically inclusive pattern of growth, and it needs to tackle the determinants of mobility at their roots, neighborhood by neighborhood, at the same time. There is growing urgency for advancing novel policy solutions that harness the power of entrepreneurs and the private sector in order to break the cycles of disadvantage that perpetuate inequality at the neighborhood level.