Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

From Rags to Riches From Rags to Riches

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

The Next Economy

From Rags to Riches

Just 4 percent of Americans born to the bottom fifth of households reach the top of the income spectrum

photo of Peter Bell
September 28, 2012

Chutes and Ladders

The American Dream promises equality of opportunity. But decades-long studies of families show unequal prospects for rising above–or falling below–one’s parents’ station in life. Things are especially unchanging for those who grow up in the poorest fifth and the richest fifth of households. Forty percent of the children of parents in those groups remain in those groups as adults.


Click to zoom. Option-click to zoom out.

 

 

Inequality Surges

Why is social mobility low? Rising income inequality is one explanation. The rich and the poor have grown further apart over the past 40 years.

Infographic

As this occurred, other gaps have widened. Among the starkest is educational attainment. High-income children are much more likely to graduate from college than low-income children are–more so now than 30 years ago.

 

Infographic

The wages of adult Americans with a college degree have risen steeply compared with those without one. Lacking a college degree makes it hard to get ahead.

 

Infographic

 

The College Difference

A college degree dramatically improves have-nots’ chances of reaching the middle– and upper–income brackets as adults. Armed with college degrees, half of children born into the lowest income bracket reach the middle quintile or higher.

Infographic


Sources: Census Bureau; Pew Economic Mobility Project; University of Michigan professors Martha J. Bailey and Susan M. Dynarski

Job Board
Search Jobs
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Intern - 6 months - Computational Fluid Dynamics
American Society of Civil Engineers | MD
Structural Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | New Haven, CT
CAD Technician
American Society of Civil Engineers | Warner Robins, GA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Engineer, Development Sr. (Application/Software Development) -Vernon Hills, IL
American Society of Civil Engineers | Vernon Hills, IL
Assistant Professor – Sustainable Horticultural Energy Management
American Society of Civil Engineers | Raleigh, NC
Architectural Engineer / Technology Consultant Top Pay!
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Assistant Project Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Yonkers, NY
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Quality Assurance Director/Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chantilly, VA
Engineering Field Technicians
American Society of Civil Engineers | Campbell Hall, NY
Estimator/Preconstruction Coordinator
American Society of Civil Engineers | Larchmont, NY
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus