In February 2019, Michael D. Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, California, launched a radical experiment. He started one of the nation’s first guaranteed income pilots, randomly selecting 125 residents at or below the city’s median household income to receive $500 a month for 24 months, no strings attached. Two years later, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, as the pilot was called, analyzed the first year of the program and found staggering results.
After a year of the program, 40% of its participants had full-time employment compared to 28% at the outset. Income volatility was reduced, participants were less depressed and anxious, and they flourished as a result. One participant was able to get his real estate license after the monthly stipend afforded him the time off to complete it. He described the change as “converting” his life “360 degrees” thanks to the ability to study that the money gave him.
Just a few years ago, experiments like Stockton’s were fringe. Today, it has blossomed into a nation-wide movement.
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