Mark Rank’s research cited by President Obama in speech on economic mobility

Research on poverty led by Washington University in St. Louis’ Mark R. Rank was cited by President Barack Obama in a landmark speech on economic mobility that laid out an agenda for the remainder of his presidency.

In a Dec. 4 address at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank, Obama cited income inequality and decreasing mobility — and poverty that can ensue as a result of that — as a “fundamental threat to the American dream.”

“One study shows that more than half of Americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives,” Obama said, citing research led by Rank released last summer. “Think about that. This is not an isolated situation. More than half of Americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty.”

Rank, PhD, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare at the Brown School, is one of the country’s foremost experts on inequality and social justice. He and colleagues at WUSTL and Cornell University have spent years analyzing data through the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the longest-running longitudinal household survey in the world.

The notion of the “American Dream” will continue to be at the forefront in 2014, when Oxford University Press releases Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes March 28.

To read the full text of Obama’s speech and view the 49-minute video, visit the White House website. (The reference to Rank’s research begins at the 37:17 mark.)