Prerequisite for the American Dream: Location, location, location

As this headline reinforces, real estate value remains rooted in geography, however a study done by the Pew Center on the States reveals that economic mobility might also depend on where an individual resides.

Pew’s Economic Mobility Project uses Census and Social Security data to track the prime working years of American baby boomers and how they moved up or down the economic ladder based upon the state they resided in.

Erin Currier, who worked with the Pew study, defined economic mobility as a “measure of opportunity and a measure of the health of the American dream.”

It sounds fairly crucial when she puts it like that so imagine my disappointment when I learned that my home state of Texas stood amongst the nine states with the worse economic mobility in the nation.

Pew Center on the States

Green states indicate economic mobility higher than the national average. Red states have lower mobility than the national average. And grey states stand on par with the national average.

Despite the trends of urban shrinkage in cities like New York, Pittsburgh and Detroit, their states enjoy a level of mobility that the Southern states lack even with their recent expansion.

Maybe I’m just upset that Michigan, which houses Detroit and the city of Flint — a symbol for urban decay in America — is colored green while Texas, where HousingWire is located, is in the red.

It’s amazing how the seemingly distant history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era, and the economic disparity between North and South, can still be seen to this day.

All nine of the states where the American dream is apparently the weakest, come from the South.

“The South is the native home of American poverty,” said Gene Nichol, director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina-Chapel.

Read more about the study here.

— Paul Dang

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