Bringing the Economy Home

Bad News, Idahoans: We’re Downwardly Mobile

Pew Center on the States

Click on the image above to go to Pew's interactive map.

Idahoans have a greater chance of sliding down the economic ladder than the average American.  That’s one piece of information gleaned from the Pew Center on the States’ recent report on economic mobility, out this week.

Idaho is grouped with Montana, Alaska and Wyoming for the purpose of the report, given the states’ small populations.  The study is based on 30 years of earnings data, and focuses on Americans in their “prime working years,” meaning their mid-30s through 40s.

According to the report, 40 percent of top earners living in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming saw their rank in the national earnings distribution fall by ten or more points over a decade.  That is, they found themselves doing less well relative to earners across the nation.  That means Idaho earners had high relative downward mobility.

Residents of neighboring Utah, meanwhile, experienced high relative upward mobility during the decades the report considers.  There, 44 percent of residents that started out in the bottom half of the earnings distribution moved up ten or more points over the decade, compared to their peers across the nation.

The sorry takeaway: if you want to experience the American Dream, you might have a better chance of it if you move next door.

For a handy three-minute video explaining economic mobility, click here!



About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »