Share your thoughts: How 4 scrappy, blue-collar cities outside Boston rescued the American Dream

NOT LONG AGO, a team of economists at Harvard University, Brown University, and the US Census Bureau published an extraordinary study of opportunity in America.

Drawing on anonymized tax and census data, they traced the economic trajectory of nearly every American born between 1978 and 1983 — some 20.5 million people in all — from childhood to their mid-30s.

And they were able to show with remarkable and often heartbreaking precision that where we grow up — down to the specific neighborhood — can have a profound influence on our prospects for moving up the economic ladder and grabbing a piece of the American Dream.


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