Breaking Down Barriers to Economic Opportunity

The lack of upward mobility for low- and middle-income children – a product of inequality and poverty – strikes at the heart of the American dream. But several evidence-based policies can boost opportunities for these children, as Jared Bernstein and I document in a new paper for the Peterson Foundation.

We describe at least three ways that inequality constrains opportunity.

First, inequality increases residential segregation by income. As the middle class has shrunk, neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and of concentrated wealth have both become more common. Relative to their peers in mixed-income neighborhoods, children in high-poverty neighborhoods are exposed to more […]