"Moving on up" is a fundamental part of America's identity, but for many members of the middle class, the path from rags to riches is getting harder to navigate. To gauge the state of American promise, we dug into the numbers: Take our quiz to find out if American hope lives up to American hype.
1. What percentage of Americans expect to become millionaires within the next ten years?
What percentage of Americans expect to become millionaires within the next 10 years?
According to an AP/CNBC poll conducted in 2011, two in 10 Americans think that they will become millionaires within the next 10 years.
2. What percentage of Americans are millionaires?
What percentage of Americans are millionaires?
According to the Capgemini/RBC 2012 World Wealth Report, the U.S. currently has 3.07 million people with liquid assets of $1 million or more. That number has dropped by 1.2% since 2010, but America still has more millionaires than any other country in the world.
3. Adjusting for real value, how much has the minimum wage increased since 1990?
Adjusting for real value, how much has the minimum wage increased since 1990?
On the surface, it would appear that the minimum wage has almost doubled since 1990, going from $3.80 to $7.25. In terms of real value, however, it has only gone up by 21%. Today, 18 states -- and the District of Columbia -- have minimum wages that exceed the national standard.
4. How much has the cost of living increased since 1990?
How much has the cost of living increased since 1990?
While the real value of the minimum wage has increased by 21% in the last 22 years, the actual cost of living has gone up more than three times as much.
5. Which country has the least economic mobility?
A. United States
Which country has the least economic mobility?
The United States
According to several recent studies, America lags behind much of the industrialized world when it comes to income mobility across generations. A report from the Brookings Institute stated that Canada's economic mobility is 2.5 times that of the U.S.
6. Between 1974 and 2004, what happened to the median incomes of 30-year-old men?
A. They rose by 11%
B. They rose by 3%
C. They dropped by 7%
D. They dropped by 12%
Between 1974 and 2004, what happened to the median incomes of 30-year-old men?
They dropped by 12%
Between 1974 and 2004, median personal income for men in their thirties fell from $40,000 to $35,000.
7. What happened to the economy between 1974 and 2004?
A. It stayed even
B. It increased by 50%
C. It increased by 70%
D. It increased by 150%
What happened to the economy between 1974 and 2004?
It increased by 150%
From 1974 to 2004, while median personal income for men was dropping, the economy was soaring. Gross domestic product during that period increased by 150%.
Opportunity's Knock Is Much Quieter Now
With more millionaires than any other country in the world, it's hard to deny that America is the land of opportunity. But, while the U.S. economy has vastly expanded in recent decades, the proceeds from that explosive growth have landed in the hands of a comparatively small portion of the populace. At the same time, low wages and a high cost of living are making it much harder for people to move from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top -- or even the middle.
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Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.