College remains the great socioeconomic equalizer


CLARKONOMICS: Is college worth it for your future? While the basic answer is “yes,” going to college can be more important for you the lower you start out on the socioeconomic scale.

The Economix blog of The New York Times reports the Treasury Department examined the impact a college degree can have on a child born into a poor family. Without a degree, poor kids have a roughly 50/50 chance of remaining in the bottom 20% of income earners. But getting a degree — any kind of bachelor’s degree — gives a poor child a better than 80% chance of being middle class or above.

Birth does not necessarily have to be destiny. It is true there are built-in advantages to being born into an affluent family, and inherent disadvantages if you’re born into poor family. But the reality is that wealthy kids who have no drive and no ambition and just want to live off the family’s money until it is gone probably won’t do well.

When you’re a poor kid, you’ve got a lot to overcome. There’s no doubt about that. But education is the breakthrough that allows you to live a different future than what you saw growing up in your family.

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