The road still rises. But the climb is steeper, and the falls are more frequent.
That’s the view of prospects for upward mobility in the modern American economy that emerges from the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans still define the U.S. as “the land of opportunity,” nearly as many agree that getting ahead is more difficult for workers today than it was for previous generations. Only about one in five Americans say they have been able to get ahead consistently in their lives; many more say they have moved forward somewhat but faced intermittent reversals. And while a plurality of adults believe they have more opportunity to advance than their parents did, Americans are much more uncertain that the next generation will have greater opportunities than their own—with whites far more pessimistic than minorities.