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Key Issues

Economic Mobility

Economic mobility refers to people’s ability to improve their economic status over the course of their lifetimes. Economic mobility requires access not only to income, assets, training, and employment, but also more intangible resources like power — the ability to make choices for yourself and influence others — and social inclusion, according to the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty.

It’s expensive to be poor, which limits economic mobility. Fines and fees add up when someone is unable to pay a full bill, and financial institutions often aim predatory products at low-income customers. A family living in poverty will struggle to afford basic household expenses like property taxes, auto insurance, internet access, and utility bills as well as necessities like food and health care.

Below is an overview of the numerous research projects supported by Poverty Solutions that aim to promote a better understanding of drivers of and barriers to economic mobility.

Economic Mobility Scholars


News Releases

Research Projects

Map of MI by region, with state-wide poverty metrics

Michigan Advance | Jun. 18, 2024

Nearly 40% of Michiganders live in economic insecurity, University of Michigan study finds

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NBC 10 Boston | May. 21, 2024

Wealth inequality starts at birth. Lawmakers debate whether child savings accounts can help

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Map of MI by region

The Alpena News | Apr. 24, 2024

Column: Solving poverty within reach

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Michigan has the most expensive auto insurance in the U.S., despite reforms passed in 2019 that significantly lowered premiums. Transportation is vitally important to economic mobility, and the price of auto insurance creates a huge barrier to automobile ownership in Michigan.