Climbing the economic ladder
Mobility from poverty is decreasing in the United States. Ninety percent of children born in 1940 earned more than their parents did. For children born in the 1980s, though, that figure has dropped to just 50%.
We know that achieving an education after high school helps create more opportunities for individuals to climb the economic ladder, and we have spent years investing in and working to improve our U.S. education system from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education. But education alone is not enough to guarantee financial stability and a path out of poverty. Even with a postsecondary degree, millions of people are living below the poverty line. And the reality is that two-thirds of the U.S. workforce doesn’t have a college degree, and trends indicate that fewer people are enrolling in postsecondary education in recent years.
Regardless of education level, most people aspire to live a full life by finding good jobs, working hard, and pursuing opportunities to climb the economic ladder. Unfortunately, too many people struggle to achieve economic success and bureaucratic processes make it difficult to access the safety net benefits and tax credits they are eligible to receive. Those benefits can help them secure a foothold in an ever-changing economy – one in which events like the COVID-19 pandemic can set back people through no fault of their own.
Bureaucratic processes present economic challenges for millions of people regardless of their race, gender, or geographic location. But the data show that of those people struggling to achieve economic security, women and Black, Latino, and other people of color often face additional barriers to economic security due to sexism and racism. That is why many of our partners work directly to support these communities and connect them to opportunities and resources.
We envision an economic system that works for everyone, a system where no one is unfairly left behind.
Our Economic Mobility and Opportunity Strategy is focused on partnering across sectors and systems to improve their ability to meet the needs of our focus population and help them achieve long-term economic security.