American Voices Project

Opportunities for upward mobility are declining. And the decline is precipitous: Ninety percent of children born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents, whereas today only half of all children earn more than their parents. Our mission: To talk to people across the country to learn how they’re faring and to find out what is and isn’t working in their lives.

The American Voices Project will thus start with a fact-finding census of 200 rural, suburban, and urban communities. We will interview 5,000 individuals across the country to understand their successes and struggles, their hopes and dreams, and their ideas for making our country work better.

We don’t know why some communities succeed in providing opportunity, while others lag behind. We don’t know why some people are doing well and others are struggling. We try to help those in need, but we don’t know if that help is effective. 

The solution: There’s simply no substitute to talking to people openly and honestly and finding out what’s happening in their lives. The American Voices Project is not a survey, it’s not a poll, it’s an honest and open conversation that we’re holding across the country.

The American Voices Project is a joint initiative of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, and the American Institutes for Research. To learn more, please visit our website.