The “American Dream” upholds the ideal that with hard work, perseverance and a little luck, any American dreamer can pull themselves from the depths of poverty to achieve their socio-economic aspirations. Now, it seems, that dream may be fading.

recent study reveals that the success of upward mobility between social classes is less attainable today than it was in the 1980s. People who are born today are more likely to remain in the same socio-economic position or drop below it. The capacity for upward mobility has now decreased by as much as 20 percent.

This affects no small portion of the country. Last year, there were 43.1 million Americans living in poverty. The national poverty rate is 13.5 percent, which includes 19.7 percent of children under the age of 18.

Harvard Professor Robert Putnam has spent decades studying the social mobility of his hometown of Port Clinton, OH – a place he calls a Bellwether town in a Bellwether state. His most recent book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” examines the forces behind this dying ideal. The notion of a “land of opportunity” which has left millions of Americans alone and without hope.

Tune in for a conversation about the disaffected working class and how ignoring the plight of poverty has played into politics. For the full in-depth discussion, click here.

Show More

Related Videos

  • Rep. Bustos: We Cannot Be the Anti-Trump Party  

    July 1, 2017

    Rep. Bustos: We Cannot Be the Anti-Trump Party  

    July 1, 2017

    Democrats have been the minority party in the House since 2010, and struggled midterm afte...

    Watch now
  • Expert: Paris Accord Decision Could Leave U.S. Economy Behind

    June 3, 2017

    Expert: Paris Accord Decision Could Leave U.S. Economy Behind

    June 3, 2017

    President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement this week, sparking both ...

    Watch now
  • May 6, 2017

    May 13, 2017

    May 6, 2017

    May 13, 2017

    This weekend on Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien, we dive into the First Amendment with...

    Watch now
  • Gary Mayor: Trump Administration Policies Could Threaten Progress

    May 6, 2017

    Gary Mayor: Trump Administration Policies Could Threaten Progress

    May 6, 2017

    Gary, Indiana was once a thriving steel town known as the “Magic City.” Since the consolid...

    Watch now
  • Former Investment Banker: “Wall Street Wants Speed Limits”

    February 18, 2017

    Former Investment Banker: “Wall Street Wants Speed Limits”

    February 18, 2017

    President Donald Trump’s signed his first bill this week. It rolls back a regulation in th...

    Watch now
  • Trade Lawyer: Killing NAFTA Would Hurt American Jobs, Consumers

    January 28, 2017

    Trade Lawyer: Killing NAFTA Would Hurt American Jobs, Consumers

    January 28, 2017

    As President Donald Trump finishes his first week, our relationship with American ally Mex...

    Watch now
  • Durham: Revitalization After Election Disappointment

    January 21, 2017

    Durham: Revitalization After Election Disappointment

    January 21, 2017

    Durham, NC is one of the most diverse cities in America. Millennials there are now the lar...

    Watch now
  • A Conservative Policy Expert’s Advice for President Trump

    January 21, 2017

    A Conservative Policy Expert’s Advice for President Trump

    January 21, 2017

    Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump says he will get to work taking action on some of...

    Watch now

Latest

  • Legal Expert: President Could Face Legal Liability

    July 15, 2017

    Legal Expert: President Could Face Legal Liability

    July 15, 2017

    President Donald Trump returns from his visit with the French president to the c...

    Watch now
  • The Argument for Keeping Confederate Statues

    July 15, 2017

    The Argument for Keeping Confederate Statues

    July 15, 2017

    Last weekend, opposing protests rocked the city of Charlottesville, VA, one of t...

    Watch now
  • Health Insurance Prices Won’t Go Down Without Addressing Cost of Care

    July 15, 2017

    Health Insurance Prices Won’t Go Down Without Addressing Cost of Care

    July 15, 2017

    Republican senators have released a second repeal and replace plan for the Affor...

    Watch now
  • Web Extra: Health Policy Expert on Medicaid Cuts in Senate Bill

    July 1, 2017

    Web Extra: Health Policy Expert on Medicaid Cuts in Senate Bill

    July 1, 2017

    The Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare includes a roughly $800 billio...

    Watch now
  • CBC Chair: We Respect the President’s Office Even if He Doesn’t

    July 1, 2017

    CBC Chair: We Respect the President’s Office Even if He Doesn’t

    July 1, 2017

    The Congressional Black Caucus is declining a follow-up meeting with President T...

    Watch now
  • Millennial Expert: GOP Healthcare Bill Would Cause Millions to Lose Coverage

    July 1, 2017

    Millennial Expert: GOP Healthcare Bill Would Cause Millions to Lose Coverage

    July 1, 2017

    Both the Republican House and Senate versions of healthcare reform to replace an...

    Watch now
  • Rep. Bustos: We Cannot Be the Anti-Trump Party  

    July 1, 2017

    Rep. Bustos: We Cannot Be the Anti-Trump Party  

    July 1, 2017

    Democrats have been the minority party in the House since 2010, and struggled mi...

    Watch now
  • Sen. Cassidy: Healthcare Bill Needs to Meet Trump Promise

    June 24, 2017

    Sen. Cassidy: Healthcare Bill Needs to Meet Trump Promise

    June 24, 2017

    Senate Republicans hope to hold a vote next week on their recently unveiled prop...

    Watch now
  • Searching For A Better Life in America

    June 17, 2017

    Searching For A Better Life in America

    June 17, 2017

    Clarkston, GA is a small town of just 1.1 square miles outside of Atlanta and is...

    Watch now
  • A Photo Bringing Together Holocaust Survivors

    June 10, 2017

    A Photo Bringing Together Holocaust Survivors

    June 10, 2017

    A best-selling memoir is bringing these child Holocaust survivors together – or ...

    Watch now
  • Manufacturing in Need of Employees

    May 20, 2017

    Manufacturing in Need of Employees

    May 20, 2017

    Since the end of the recession, the manufacturing industry has been growing – bo...

    Watch now
  • Health Advocates: Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Leave Women Behind

    April 22, 2017

    Health Advocates: Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Leave Women Behind

    April 22, 2017

    Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers could lose federal funding in so...

    Watch now
  • ‘Fugees of Georgia Making America a Second Home

    April 15, 2017

    ‘Fugees of Georgia Making America a Second Home

    April 15, 2017

    Every state except for Wyoming has hubs of refugees from all over the globe, par...

    Watch now
  • Understanding Another Cause of PTSD

    April 1, 2017

    Understanding Another Cause of PTSD

    April 1, 2017

    As an army photographer, Jacob Fadley captured the horrific scenes of war, inclu...

    Watch now
  • Combating Wounds Within: Robert Vessels

    April 1, 2017

    Combating Wounds Within: Robert Vessels

    April 1, 2017

    Within a week of graduating high school, Robert Vessels was in basic training to...

    Watch now
  • Decorated War Vet Combating the Stigma of PTSD

    April 1, 2017

    Decorated War Vet Combating the Stigma of PTSD

    April 1, 2017

    Retired Army Colonel Greg Gadson is a decorated war hero with a Purple Heart. Af...

    Watch now
  • July 1, 2017

    July 8, 2017

    July 1, 2017

    July 8, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien is joined by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), chairman of the Congre...

    Watch now
  • June 24,2017

    July 1, 2017

    June 24,2017

    July 1, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien takes on the new Senate healthcare bill with senators from both ...

    Watch now
  • June 17, 2017

    June 24, 2017

    June 17, 2017

    June 24, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien hosts a special edition of Matter of Fact looking at refugees ad...

    Watch now
  • June 10, 2017

    June 17, 2017

    June 10, 2017

    June 17, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien sits down with Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Al Franken (D-MN)...

    Watch now
  • June 3, 2017

    June 10, 2017

    June 3, 2017

    June 10, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien speaks with Watergate special prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks to disc...

    Watch now
  • May 27, 2017

    June 3, 2017

    May 27, 2017

    June 3, 2017

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien speaks with Tulsa, OK Public Sch...

    Watch now
  • May 13, 2017

    May 20, 2017

    May 13, 2017

    May 20, 2017

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien visits DNC headquarter to ask Ch...

    Watch now
  • May 6, 2017

    May 13, 2017

    May 6, 2017

    May 13, 2017

    This weekend on Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien, we dive into the First Amen...

    Watch now