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Mobility Metrics Framework

Urban Institute’s framework identifies three dimensions that define mobility from poverty, the drivers that fuel it, and the policy domains local leaders can influence to help bolster the conditions that boost upward mobility and narrow racial inequities.

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Boosting Upward Mobility

Strong and Healthy Families
Domains
  • Financial Well-Being
    Income Financial Security
  • Housing
    Affordable Housing Housing Instability and Homelessness
  • Family
    Family Structure and Stability
  • Health
    Overall Health Access to and Utilization of Health Services Neonatal Health
  • Supportive Communities
    Domains
  • Local Governance
    Political Participation Descriptive Representation Among Local Officials
  • Neighborhoods
    Economic inclusion and Racial Diversity Belongingness Transportation Access Environmental Quality Social Capital
  • Safety
    Exposure to Trauma Exposure to Crime Overly Punitive Policing
  • Opportunities to Learn and Earn
    Domains
  • Education
    Access to Preschool Effective Public Education Student Poverty Concentration College Readiness
  • Work
    Employment Access to Jobs Paying a Living Wage

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    Dimensions of Mobility
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    Achieving mobility from poverty encompasses the following three interconnected and mutually inclusive dimensions.

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    Economic success. When a person has adequate income and assets to support their and their family’s material well-being.

    Being valued in community. When a person feels the respect, dignity, and sense of belonging that comes from contributing to and being appreciated by people in their community.

    Power and autonomy. When a person has the ability to have control over their life, to make choices, and to influence larger policies and actions that affect their future.

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    Drivers of Mobility
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    The following three conditions propel people and families up and out of poverty over the course of their lives. Together, they contribute to a person’s economic success, power and autonomy, and sense of belonging in their community.

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    Strong and healthy families. A secure and stable home environment provides the essential foundation for children’s healthy development. It also supports the educational and economic success of children, adolescents, and adults as well as a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.

    Supportive communities. Safe and inclusive communities play a central role in shaping families’ well-being, their social networks, and their children’s chances to thrive and succeed.

    Opportunities to learn and earn. Pre-K through postsecondary as well as adult education and workforce development provide critical pathways to people’s economic and social mobility, with work providing the most important means of economic security and advancement.


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    Domains
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    In our Mobility Metrics Framework, domains represent policy areas related to predictive factors strongly associated with people’s and families’ long-term upward mobility. Local leaders can work across these policy areas to influence and improve key conditions for mobility.

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    Strong & Healthy Families

    Financial Wellbeing


    Housing


    Family


    Health

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    Supportive Communities

    Local Governance


    Neighborhoods


    Safety

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    Opportunities to Learn & Earn

    Education


    Work


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    More Metrics Resources
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    Dig deeper into our research approach and the evidence behind our framework.

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