How Science and Technology Shatter the Myth of Generational Cycles

At the heart of American pride is the dream that anyone can bootstrap their way from rags to riches. Unfortunately, despite belief and hope, this dream is statistically rare. Research by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project shows that 70 percent of people born in poverty never know anything different.

Since the 1970s, income inequality in America and “the hollowing out of the middle class” has increased at an historic rate. The rich get richer and the poor remain poor… generation after generation.

Interestingly, location is among the key factors determining the likelihood of rising out of poverty. Based on research around Indianapolis, life will be vastly different for those living in Hendricks County as opposed to the impoverished Shelby or Marion Counties. Moreover, the earlier in life a person moves to Hendricks, the lower the odds of becoming a single parent and the higher the odds of becoming educated.

According to a large scale study, two Harvard professors determined, “The data shows we can do something about upward mobility… Every extra year of childhood spent in a better neighborhood seems to matter.”

Where you live matters intensely. It changes your paradigm about what is real and possible. If the best you’ve experienced is poverty, how could you possibly shoot for something different?

My wife and I became foster parents of three children almost a year ago. These children were born in a county in the bottom tenth percentile for upward economic mobility. Put simply, less than 10 percent of people born poor in their county ever know or experience anything different.

Our eight-year-old foster son’s highest aspiration is to join the military when he grows up. Why? Because at the group home he was living for 8 months, his advisor had been in —> Read More