Black Middle Class Children More Likely to Earn Less Than Parents

Black children smiling together on sofa . (Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images)

Black Middle Class Children More Likely to Earn Less Than Parents

Upward mobility is harder for Blacks from generation to generation.

Published February 9, 2015

As African-Americans reflect on the past during Black History Month, they are faced with the long struggle to maintain and pass down many aspects of their lives such as culture and wealth from generation to generation.

A recent article in the Atlantic, “How Black Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults,” is a reminder that these issues remain. It also calls into question whether the future for Blacks will be any better.

African-American parents who work hard to provide the American dream for their families hope their children can one day have a better quality of life. But it is less likely that Black middle-class kids will live better or as well as their parents — in fact they are more likely to do worse, the report says.

The article cites a report by Brookings, which states seven out of 10 Blacks born in the middle class are likely to fall into income brackets below them. For the 51 percent of Blacks who grow up in households at the lowest fifth of the income spectrum, they remain there at age 40. This compares to 23 percent of whites who are in the same income bracket.

The Atlantic reports:

A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which looked at factors such as parental income, education, and family structure, shows a similar pattern: Many Black Americans not only fail to move up, but also show an increased likelihood of backsliding. According to the study, "In recent decades, Blacks have experienced substantially less upward intergenerational mobility and substantially more downward intergenerational mobility than whites."

The greater probability of slipping back applies to Blacks across income groups. According to the Fed study, about 60 percent of Black children whose parents had income that fell into the top 50 percent of the distribution saw their own income fall into the bottom half during adulthood. This type of downward slide was common for only 36 percent of white children.

Read full story here.

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(Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images)

Written by Natelege Whaley


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