The only thing more tragic than being born into poverty is being trapped in it. Were the United States actually as socially mobile as it once was, than most poor children could at least look forward to escaping their dire conditions with enough hard work. Unfortunately, this increasingly isn’t the case, as the following image soberingly shows.
In a perfect meritocracy — as the U.S. is traditionally seen to be — our parents’ income should have no impact on our own, and people who work equivalently hard are just as likely to get ahead. Of course there will always be those who never make it out for reason or another, but a fair number should still nonetheless success.
Instead, a mere four percent of kids born into the bottom quintile make it into the top one. For sources, data, and an explanation as to why this is, click view this report by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts.