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We have two narratives about class in this country. Perhaps the most
prominent is the American Dream – the idea that hard work and moral
fortitude can lead people from rages to riches. The second is that of the
rigged class system, one designed to ensure that the privileged remain
privileged while the poor remain poor.

There are several problems with these narratives, but I want to focus on
one: they both miss a large group of people, the downwardly mobile. In
fact, one in two kids born into the upper-middle-class – one in two kids
born to a college-educated professional parent – fall out of this class as

I wanted to learn how kids raised with so much could lose the privileges
they had. So I poured over interviews researchers conducted with over 100
upper-middle-class Americans who they followed from age 13 to age 28. I
found out that my idea that they have so many resources was wrong.

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