The American dream — the idea that anyone can own their own home and do better than the previous generation with the right amount of hard work — has been fading for years, with rising house prices and stagnant wages. Now, people who want to achieve it may be better off seeking it in Canada, the U.K. or Denmark according to a new study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The study, authored by Raj Chetty, professor of economics at Stanford University, defined the concept as the ability for children born in the bottom fifth of income distribution to reach the top fifth. In the U.S. the likelihood of that is 7.5%, whereas in Canada children born in that group are twice as likely to rise to the top — at 13.5%. In the U.K. the likelihood of achieving that move from the bottom fifth to the top fifth is 9% and in Denmark it is 11.7%.
“When some people initially see these numbers, they sometimes react by saying, ‘Even in Canada, which has the highest rates of upward mobility, the rate of success doesn’t look all that high,” Chetty wrote.