Even as U.S. economic opportunity falls, study finds broader gains

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:32am EDT

Graduating student Katherine Thomas has ''I Did It'' written on her mortar board during Commencement Exercises at Boston College in  Boston, Massachusetts May 19, 2014.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Graduating student Katherine Thomas has ''I Did It'' written on her mortar board during Commencement Exercises at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts May 19, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Economic opportunity has dropped in the United States over the past 40 years, but a broader gauge of opportunity incorporating crime, education and healthcare has been on the rise, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study released by advocacy group Opportunity Nation and research group Measure of America showed that opportunity increased 13 percent from 1970 to 2010, even as economic opportunity decreased by 22 percent.

"I think that the important thing to recognize is that opportunity is more than just the unemployment rate," said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan group that seeks to expand economic mobility.

"Access to education is important, access to healthcare is important. These are all pieces that are critical to opportunity," he said.

The study measured data from a variety of government sources to determine a measure of success in each state and Washington, D.C., in terms of economics, education and community life. The study took into account a range of factors from access to healthcare to household income and violent crime.

It found that educational opportunity rose by 80 percent and community opportunity increased by 20 percent, more than offsetting the decline in terms of economics.

The slow recovery from the 2007-2009 recession weighed on the measure of economic opportunity, as did a 30 percent increase in income inequality and a 12 percent rise in poverty.

Based on the broad measure, however, almost every state has seen opportunity increase over the past four decades, with the biggest gain in Virginia. Only Nevada and Michigan registered declines.

(Reporting by Moriah Costa; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
zigo wrote:
Economic mobility, the old-style American Dream, is buried.
(We take money out of the system to invest it in China. Long live low taxes!)

May we introduce “the American Dream redefined”: access to health care.

Jun 24, 2014 2:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeRealistic wrote:
Well, you might not make a good living, but at least your educated self can walk to a waitstaff job in good health and not be mugged…unless you are in one of the typically liberal controlled towns like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Philly, St Louis, etc, then you might want to think twice about walking around. Sad what liberal ideas and agenda has done to our country.

Jun 24, 2014 9:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:
USA tax structure is the fault and an obstacle to worldly potential. Transaction tax code imposes disproportionate burden at the most fundamental rights of liberty, justice. Any encumbrance on sustenance is contrary to equality in the ’pursuit of happiness’. I argue that this is a national level epidemic that can be solved my embracing the 1913 income tax principle that all income is summed for a progressive tax rate revenue base, one that shared in 1/3rds to Federal State and Local levels. Analysis using published income data indicates this is sufficient to balance all three budgets. Of course, the 0.1% oligarchs presently paying 16.1% total taxes (IF ANY) at about half the rate to the lower 4/5th oppose by any means. And the wealth disparity of political pull continues under SCOTUS citizens united ruling(s).

To: Office of Senator ____________________
United States Senate Washington,
D.C. 20510

To: Office of Representative_________________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

We the people of this United States do proclaim this federal government ‘of, by and for the people’. That, in order to fairly distribute revenue burden, to satisfy ‘net income’ progressive taxation, to balance all governments budgets, and to not tax poverty;
The people mandate:
Income National Tax code that shall use margin graduated income tax principle: Margin $30k 0%, each dollar above this at a linear increasing rate {(Income*(Income/$800k)*90%; 90% limit} . Exemptions shall be prohibited, couples freely share income(s). The Federal Reserve shall amend the (90%,$800k) rate point, and control currency printing mandated to maintaining currency availability and value. The Federal Reserve shall set the Margin rate value well (>2x) above highest of all State Poverty Level(s). Revenue shall be proportioned 1/3rd Federal,1/3rd State proportioned per cast ballot and 1/3rd Local proportioned per cast ballot.
This National Tax is a peoples tax, no other citizen taxation shall be permitted. Business shall not be taxed. The Federal Reserve shall control taxation. The people will by simple majority approve or reject all margin and rate changes at every Congressional House Representative election year ballot.

Yearly Effective
Salary Tax Rate
30k 0.0%
50k 0.5%
100k 2.8%
200k 8.1%
500k 24.5%
1M 51.3%
5M 82.3%
10M 86.1%


Jun 24, 2014 9:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.