Do you expect that your children will have a better or worse life, financially speaking, than you will? Do you think that you will do better or worse than your own parents?
The answer to the question of economic mobility is really a two-part one. A new study from the Pew Charitable Trust finds an answer of “yes” or “no” on either question boils down to just two factors: Education and marital status.
Pew reports black college educated couples with kids have incomes that are 99% higher on average than their parents. For married whites with kids, 91% had higher incomes than their parents.
Let’s look just at the marital situation: For whites, at least half of respondents fell down a rung on the income and wealth ladder just by being single. And black single moms without a college degree saw a 70% drop in income versus their parents.
As Pew says, “Economic mobility is increasingly a family enterprise.”
This info is coming at a time when Census Bureau data says the average family income basically went sideways going back to 1988 when late President Reagan was in office. It’s easy to say that wealth is concentrated in fewer hands and the rest of everybody else lives on crumbs.
Yet here’s the counterpoint: Our overall economy is 40% larger today than it was a little more than a generation ago. We are overall a much wealthier society than we were then. We have more creature comforts that we tend to forget about it.