According to an article by Sasha Kimel in The Atlantic:
We like to tell ourselves that America is the land of opportunity, but the reality doesn't match the rhetoric—and hasn't for awhile. We actually have less social mobility than countries like Denmark. And that's more of a problem the more inequality there is. Think about it like this: Moving up matters more when there's a bigger gap between the rich and poor. So even though mobility hasn't gotten worse lately, it has worse consequences today because inequality is worse.
This map from the article
shows where kids have the best and worst chances of moving up from the bottom to the top quintile—and that the South looks more like a banana republic. (Note: darker colors mean there is less mobility, and lighter colors mean that there's more).Not surprisingly the article goes on to discuss race, segregation, social capital and inequality.
The lesson of the map is unfortunately clear. For kids in far too much of America, the dream of anyone being able to rise to the top is mythical, and not at all realistic.