Monday, October 01, 2018

Mapping the American Dream

The American Dream is based on the idea that everyone in the USA has the same opportunities to achieve prosperity and success. No matter where you are born, no matter who your parents are, with hard work, ambition and determination you can achieve wealth and success.

A new interactive map from Opportunity Insights visualizes the average outcomes in adulthood for people in every census tract in the USA. The Opportunity Atlas allows you to see which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty and in which neighborhoods kids are trapped by their upbringing. It can help you see where the American Dream remains just a pipe dream.

The map uses anonymous data following 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s. Click on a census tract on the map and you can find out the average wage earned by people who grew up in that neighborhood. The map allows you to refine the data to explore the differences within neighborhoods for children of different races, genders and parental income. For example, you can compare the outcomes in adulthood for black men who grew up in low-income families in a census tract with white men in low-income families who grew up in the same tract.

The Opportunity Atlas includes a number of guided tours which explore some of the insights which can be revealed by using the map. These stories explore such issues as whether economic booms always benefit local residents, whether upward mobility is higher in urban or rural communities and where in the USA American Indian children thrive.

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