One of the biggest reasons the US is falling behind in social mobility is the ever-increasing income inequality. The Equality of Opportunity Project ran a study that showed that 90 percent of Americans in 1940 were able to earn more than their parents, dropping to around 50 percent by 1980, and they cite income inequality as the main reason for the drop. By breaking up the US into sections, we see that it is the poorer, rural areas that provide less chance for more earnings. In the worst sections, particularly in the southern states between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi, the chance of earning more than the previous generation is 4.8 percent or lower. The best chance of moving up in terms of income distribution is to move out of those rural areas. This is not always a feasible option however. Many families are stuck in low-income areas. Inside those low-income areas are poorer and therefore more ineffective schools, which leads to a lower average education level. The lower the average education level, the less potential there is for new earnings. Thus the cycle continues, and the poor remain in the same spot, if not becoming poorer.

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