Want to get richer over your lifetime? Live in New York, New Jersey or Maryland, according to a groundbreaking study released today by the Pew Center on the States. People living in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states tend to be the most economically mobile, while those in the South are the least mobile, the study found.
The best places to climb the economic ladder are Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Utah, while the worst states include Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas.
And just the act of moving could also could also help you attain the American dream, the study found. The one-third of Americans who live in a different state from where they were born are more likely to be upwardly mobile, according to the data.
"Where you live matters for your economic mobility prospects," study author Erin Currier told ABC News. This is the first time economic mobility has been analyzed on a state-by-state level. And while the study did not look at why the states performed the way they did, past research suggests that higher education, savings and assets, and neighborhood prosperity or poverty during childhood drive economic advancement, said Currier.
Drawing US Census and Social Security data from nearly 65,000 individuals in all 50 states over a 10-year period, the study analyzed three measures of economic mobility: 1) individuals' earnings growth; 2) individuals' earnings growth relative to others in their state, and 3) state-wide economic mobility compared to national averages.
Today we have "one more indicator of opportunity in America," said Currier, who hopes this will give policymakers another tool to help promote the American dream.