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Americans Are Economically Mobile

1 min readBy: Scott Hodge, Andrew Lundeen

While America certainly has its share of people in chronic poverty and those with vast wealth, we are an economically mobile society. IRS data tracking the same group of taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. payers between 1999 and 2007 showed that Americans can move from one economic group to another fairly quickly. For example, nearly 60 percent of taxpayers who began in the lowest income group in 1999 moved to a higher income group by 2007. Conversely, roughly 40 percent of taxpayers who started out in the highest income group moved to lower income groups within eight years.

For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.