Contrary to the mantra commonly touted by politicians on the campaign trail, few Americans born into poverty ever get to experience the iconic rise from “rags to riches.”

A new study by a team of UC Berkeley and Harvard economists examined upward income mobility throughout the nation, finding that less than 8 percent of people born at the bottom 20 percent of the income ladder ever climb to the top 20 percent as adults. The study, though, also found that geographic location can significantly impact those odds. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner explains.

IncomeMobility_full

Source: Equality of Opportunity Project


SelfPortraitAndy Warner’s comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate, popsci.com, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at: andywarnercomics.com and andywarnercomics.tumblr.com

  • Palo Jon

    Wow … 64.9% of people born into the lower 20% raise themselves up out of that condition into some better segment. And an amazing 7.8% are able, within a single lifetime to jump from the bottom to the top 20% tier in one of the richest of countries. While few may get to experience “rags to riches,” why do we think that everyone should, or possibly could, go from rags to riches. We are looking at percentages, so a (say) 50% turnover in the “riches” category would necessarily mean the Dame Fortune’s wheel is a whirligig of spinning uncertainty and social disruption. I agree the rich have far too much, and see the disparity growing, but I read these numbers as good news.

    • Luciano

      I’ve read a few of your posts. I don’t know what made you into such a bung hole, but your lack of empathy for people is very sad. I hope life deals you a few Bad hands so you can have a better idea what real suffering is.