The American dream has been said to have been fading from the grasps of many people for years, and a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis only works to make the point even clearer. The dream is one of parents – that their children will live a better life than they do – and that dream is more unattainable than ever.
The study showed that upward mobility, specifically the chances of someone born in the bottom 20% income bracket to move to the top 20%, is less likely in America that it is in the U.K., Denmark, and Canada. In the U.S. only 7.5% of people in the bottom 20% will ever make it to the top 20%, compared with 9% in the U.K., 11.7% in Denmark, and 13.5% in Canada.
The lack of upward mobility is not distributed evenly throughout the country. Some areas do see great mobility, North Dakota, for instance. Other areas, like the deep south (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) are stuck in a rut. Many other areas are also being hit hard; in places where manufacturing jobs used to be – Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.
It is in these places where Donald Trump took his message in the months leading up to the 2016 election. These were the areas hit the hardest by troubled economic times, and the people who feel the most desperate and unheard. They have realized that the dream of seeing your children do better than you is only that – a dream. “Make America Great Again” to these people meant hope that their children would have a chance to make that dream a reality.