The expectation that children will be better-off than their parents is a central tenet of the American Dream, Gregory Acs writes in a new study, but 30 percent of children raised in middle-class households fall out of the middle as adults.

The report–Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream–says marital status, education, scores on standardized tests and drug use are associated with losing economic ground. Race and gender also are factors, with white women and black men more likely to slide down the ladder than white men.

The report was part of the Economic Mobility Project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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