The days of forward momentum for Americans is a thing of the past. Austerity measures and a sluggish economy have made it harder for young people to get ahead.
According to NBC News, “Even as the economy improves, years of economic malaise have left many millennials unemployed, underemployed or just lower on the career ladder than they had hoped to be at this age. Many are burdened by debt, unable to afford a house and too consumed by uncertainty to meet all the adult milestones yet.”
Austerity budget cuts have contributed to the problems 20-something’s face in trying to create a better life for themselves. College grants have been harder to get, leaving more people with student loan debt that is difficult to pay off with good-paying jobs harder to find.
The problem of upward mobility is worse in some parts of the US, according to a recent study. People trying to get ahead in southern states have less chance of success than people living in California, Pennsylvania and Utah, among others.
In addition to geography, the racial makeup and overall poverty rates of different regions has an influence on economic goals.
The Atlantic reports, “Researchers found that the larger the black population, the lower the upward mobility. But this isn't actually a black-white issue. It's a rich-poor one. Low-income whites who live in areas with more black people also have a harder time moving up the income ladder. In other words, it's something about the places that black people live that hurts mobility.”
The vast differences in economic opportunities highlight how much influence local governments can have on the population. Access to education, minimum wages and tax policy, vary from state-to-state. Together they make a difference in who gets ahead and who has the odds stacked against them.