The State of Opportunity in America (2009) Released

The Opportunity Agenda is pleased to announce the release of our 2009 State of Opportunity in America report. The report documents America’s progress in protecting opportunity for everyone who lives here, and finds that access to full and equal opportunity is still very much a mixed reality.

By analyzing government data across a range of indicators, this update of our 2006 and 2007 reports assesses our progress in attaining opportunity for our nation as a whole, as well as for different groups within our society. The report paints a vivid picture of opportunity at the dawn of the current economic crisis. But even before the downturn, different American communities experienced starkly different levels of opportunity. The nation has made great strides in increasing opportunity in some areas and for some communities, but many groups of Americans are being left behind in ways that hard work and personal achievement alone cannot address.

These past few years have seen an economy in turmoil, impaired financial mobility, marginal prospects for educational advancement, and a broken health care system. These conditions thwart the nation as a whole as it strives to be a land of opportunity for the 21st Century. At the same time, women, people of color, and moderate- and lower-income individuals and families are being hardest hit and left behind as they face multiple barriers to opportunity.

These barriers are a problem not only for individuals and families, but also for our economy and nation as a whole. They also present an opportunity. Addressing them now would translate to thousands more college graduates prepared for a 21st Century global economy, millions of healthier children in stronger communities, higher wages and greater productivity for American workers, far fewer mortgage defaults and bankruptcies, and far less strain on our social services and justice system. Conversely, the areas of improved opportunity revealed by our analysis represent a foundation and lessons on which to build as the nation works to restore the American dream for everyone who lives here.

To download the report, please visit

Tags: economic justice, Education, equality, gender, Health, immigration, Opportunity, Poverty, Racial Justice, Report, Research, wage gap, Women (all tags)



Far more to this than meets the eye

By "lives here" you mean legally OR illegally-
Amnesty for (only) the most responsible illegals, on a case by case basis, for example, people who have children who are citizens and who have lived here for decades contributing to Social Security or who own businesses. Or who have advanced degrees, that makes sense.

But I do not support the "Lifeboat America" concept.

Otherwise, we are being unfair to legal immigrants and everybody who does not look vanilla. Because they are being scapegoated as jobs vanish or are eliminated by improvements in efficiency.

Jobs that used to be a lifeline for those American working people who lack advanced degrees.

What is the point of laws if they are constantly ignored or manipulated by the crafty and powerful, to keep wages down?

We are creating an underclass so that poor legal citizens have no hope of ever getting ahead, even as birth rates fall.

Wages are driven by supply and demand, you know.

by architek 2009-04-04 05:20AM | 0 recs
Environmental Health

A huge barrier to opportunity is health in working class families, which is often destroyed by workplace or residential exposure to environmental toxicants.

The USA is becoming a dumping ground for toxic chemicals that have been banned in other countries. American working people are being asked to subsidize profits of the rich with their lives and health.

It is impossible for people to thrive if they are sick or poisoned. If they have cancer and no healthcare, or if uncovered costs strip families of everything they own and leave wage earners homeless and unable to hold josb because of foreclosures over uncovered medical costs.

by architek 2009-04-04 05:24AM | 0 recs


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