New Study Shows Downward Income Mobility of Black Men in America is Real

Bullingan Team

Bullingan Team

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A recent  study done by for the Equality of Opportunity Project,  using data from about 20 million children born from 1978 to 1983 in the US, has shown that black children born to rich parents will earn less than their white counterparts with the same family income , structures and living on the same street. Not only that, but they are just as likely to fall into poverty as they are to remain in their parents income brackets.

White children, in comparison, are 5 times more likely to remain in the top bracket , as they are to fall into lower income brackets.

 

Source: Equality of Opportunity Project

 

This suggests that Inequality is not just inherited but in the case of black males is further exacerbated from one generations to the next. Previous studies such as this or this have shown a strong relationship between the incomes of parents and the incomes their children will have in adulthood. However, this latest study seems to dispute this , at least as far as the experience of black males is concerned.

Source: Equality of Opportunity Project

This study seems to show there remains something singular to the black American male experience, unique even in relation to black American women, who, though they may be seen as suffering a double- discrimination ( from racism and from sexism), do not exhibit the same gap in income distribution as their white peers from similar backgrounds.

This tends to suggest that perhaps racism affects black males disproportionately and in ways that it does not with black women even when they come from more ‘affluent’ areas.

“Simply because you’re in an area that is more affluent, it’s still hard for black boys to present themselves as independent from the stereotype of black criminality,” said Khiara Bridges, a professor of law and anthropology at Boston University speaking to the New York Times.

 

Other interesting finds:

The worst places for poor white children are almost all better than the best places for poor black children.

Hispanic Americans have high rates of  intergenerational income mobility  and will likely close the gap with white Americans in a few generations in terms of income

Source: Equality of Opportunity Project

Discrepancies in ability or  family characteristics such as education , wealth and marriage rates have little incidence on the gap between black and white men.In 99%  of neighbourhoods, in America black boys earn less as adults than white boys who grew up in identical environments with comparable income .

 

The research differs from previous studies on the subject which focused on one generation and has identified trends which are likely to continue across many generations if policies are not put in place to correct them. The study for the Equality of Opportunity project seems to suggest that racism, whether in the form of racial bias or institutional racism, continues to have far reaching consequences on the black community, and may have a larger impact than factors such as class or ability on intergenerational income mobility. The findings show there is a need firstly for awareness to be raised amongst the black community as to the existence of this trend and secondly for policies to be developed and implemented with the aim of increasing intergenerational income mobility of black men. That will mean fighting against racial bias, but implementing  mentorship programmes and programmes such as housing vouchers which have been shown to be effective at improving the incomes young children will earn as adults.

 

 

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