‘How the Other Half Banks,’ by Mehrsa Baradaran

In 1890 the journalist Jacob Riis published “How the Other Half Lives,” a powerful indictment of the horrific tenements of New York that gave rise to a significant housing reform movement. Mehrsa Baradaran, a University of Georgia law professor, reaches for a similar impact in her description of the oppressive financial environment that low-income families […]

Are You Really Middle Class?

Can we define the middle class in practical terms? To be sure, there are probably as many sociological definitions of the middle class as there are commentators seeking definitions. So let’s set aside the socio-swamp of beliefs, values, and taxonomies of class in favor of a definition with measurable thresholds. Many commentators attempt to define […]

Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations

The ideal that all Americans have equality of opportunity regardless of their economic status at birth is the crux of the American Dream and a defining element of our national psyche. This study investigates the health and status of that dream by analyzing economic mobility— Americans’ movement up and down the economic ladder—during the past […]

Inequality in America: The Data Is Sobering

The good news is that President Obama appears to have decided to devote the rest of his presidency to trying to tackle the forces behind the yawning inequities that have hamstrung social and economic mobility, eroding the living standards of the middle class. The bad news is that he may not be up to the […]