Wealth Mobility of Families Raising Children in the Twenty-First Century
- 775 Downloads
Wealth inequality between the top and bottom deciles has grown over the last 20 years (Piketty and Zucman in Wealth and inheritance in the long run, Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, 2014), as has the racial wealth gap (Shapiro et al. in The roots of the widening racial wealth gap: explaining the black–white economic divide. Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, 2013. http://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/Author/shapiro-thomas-m/racialwealthgapbrief.pdf). Within these broad trends of inequality, some families are able to get ahead and grow their wealth, while others are not. Yet we do not understand well the critical variables that increase the likelihood of wealth mobility across the life course—within the same generation. This paper addresses this gap and investigates the following questions: What accounts for intra-generational relative and absolute wealth mobility for families with children in the first decade of the twenty-first century? And how does it differ by race? The paper draws on two longitudinal data sets—the Panel Study of Income Dynamics household survey data matched with neighborhood-level US Census data (1999–2011), and the IASP Leveraging Mobility (LM) study (1998–2011). Applying an integrated mixed methods design, analyses are conducted in three stages: (1) A grounded theory analytic approach of the LM data determines key variables of wealth mobility: homeownership, income, employment characteristics, extended family wealth, negative life events, and neighborhood factors; (2) regression analyses test these indicators for absolute and relative wealth mobility; and (3) recontextualization through further analyses of LM data deepen the regression results by illustrating the pathways of significant wealth mobility predictors. Results reveal that increasing family income, larger family transfers, consistent long-term homeownership, and in some cases white-collar occupations increase the likelihood of upward relative wealth mobility. Negative life events, higher rates of neighborhood poverty, and black race are negatively correlated with the amount of wealth growth. These key drivers of wealth mobility highlight the need for targeted policies that reinforce and expand opportunities for all families to build wealth over the life course.
KeywordsEconomic mobility Drivers of wealth mobility Racial wealth disparities Families with children
- Austin, A., Hamilton, D., & Darity Jr., W. (2011). Whiter jobs, higher wages: Occupational segregation and the lower wages of black men. EPI briefing paper no. 288. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/publication/whiter_jobs_higher_wages/.
- Castro, F.G., & Nieri, T. (2008). Culturally-sensitive research: Emerging approaches in theory, measurement and methods for effective research on acculturation, ethnic identity and gender. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work Research, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Chiteji, N. S., & Hamilton, D. (2002). Family connections and the black–white wealth gap among middle-class families. The Review of Black Political Economy, 301, 8–28.Google Scholar
- Chiteji, N. S., & Hamilton, D. (2006). Estimating the effect of race & ethnicity on wealth accumulation & asset-ownership patterns. In J. G. Nembhard & N. Chiteji (Eds.), Wealth accumulation & communities of color in the United States. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Conley, D. (2009). Being black, living in the red: Race, wealth, and social policy in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Conley, D., & Glauber, R. (2007). Black–white differences in income and wealth mobility. Paper presented at the Sixth Meeting of the University Working Groups on the Social Dimensions of Inequality.Google Scholar
- Conley, D., & Glauber, R. (2008). Wealth mobility and volatility in black and white. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2008/07/29/4662/wealth-mobility-and-volatility-in-black-and-white/.
- Kochhar, R., Fry, R., & Taylor, P. (2011). Wealth gaps rise to record highs between whites, blacks, Hispanics. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/07/26/wealth-gaps-rise-to-record-highs-between-whites-blacks-hispanics/.
- Massey, D., & Denton, N. (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- McKernan, S. M., Ratcliffe, C., & Vinopal. (2009). Do assets help families cope with adverse events? Brief 10. Washington, DC: The Urban Insitute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411994_help_family_cope.pdf.
- McKernan, S. M., Ratcliffe, C., Steuerle, E., & Zhang, S. (2013). Less than equal: Racial disparities in wealth accumulation. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412802-Less-Than-Equal-Racial-Disparities-in-Wealth-Accumulation.pdf.
- Morse, J. M. (1998). Designing funded qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry (pp. 56–85). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Nembhard, J., & Chiteji, N. (2006). Wealth accumulation & communities of color in the United States: Current issues. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Piketty, T., & Zucman, G. (2014). Wealth and inheritance in the long run. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.Google Scholar
- Rank, M. R. (2007). Asset building across the life course. In S. M. Mckernan & M. Sherraden (Eds.), Asset building and low-income families (pp. 67–88). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, T., Meschede, T., & Osoro, S. (2013). The roots of the widening racial wealth gap: Explaining the black–white economic divide. Waltham, MA: Institue on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from http://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/Author/shapiro-thomas-m/racialwealthgapbrief.pdf.
- Shapiro, T., Meschede, T., & Osoro, S. (2014). The widening racial wealth gap: Why wealth is not color blind. In R. Cramer & T. R. W. Shanks (Eds.), The assets perspective: The rise of asset building and its impact on social policy (pp. 99–122). New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers.Google Scholar
- Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, L. (2012). A bumpy road: Asset accumulation, unexpected life course events, and later life economic security (Ph.D. in Social Policy). Waltham, MA: Brandeis University. Retrieved from http://gradworks.umi.com/35/62/3562811.html.
- The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2012). Pursing the American dream: Economic mobility across generations. Philadelphia, PA: The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/pcs_assets/2012/PursuingAmericanDreampdf.pdf.
- The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2013). Moving on up: Why do some Americans leave the bottom of the economic ladder, but not others? Issue brief. Philadelphia, PA: The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved from http://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/Assets/2013/11/01/MovingOnUppdf.pdf.
- Thomas, H., Boguslaw, J., Chaganti, S., Atkinson, A., & Shapiro, T. (2013a). Employment capital: How work builds and protects family wealth and security. Leveraging Mobility Series, No. 2. Waltham, MA: Institue on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from http://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/2013/Employment.pdf.
- Thomas, H., Boguslaw, J., Chaganti, S., & Shapiro, T. (2014c). Keeping dreams alive: The lane-changer costs of financial disruptions. Leveraging Mobility Series, No. 3. Waltham, MA: Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from https://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/2014/Lane-Changer.pdf.
- Thomas, H., Boguslaw, J., Mann, A., & Shapiro, T. (2013b). Leveraging mobility: Building wealth, security and opportunity for family well-being. Leveraging Mobility Series, No. 1. Waltham, MA: Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from https://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/2013/Overview.pdf.
- Thomas, H., Meschede, T., Mann, A., Boguslaw, J., & Shapiro, T. (2014b) Web of wealth: Resiliency and opportunity or driver of inequality. Leveraging Mobility Series No. 4. Waltham, MA: Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from http://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/2014/Web.pdf.
- Thomas, H., Meschede, T., Mann, A., Stagg, A., & Shapiro, T. (2014a). Location, location, location: The role neighborhoods play in family wealth and well-being. Leveraging Mobility Series, No. 5. Waltham, MA: Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University. Retrieved from https://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/2014/Location.pdf.
- Weller, C., & Fields, J. (2011). The black and white labor gap in America: Why African Americans struggle to find jobs and remain employed compared to whites, Issue brief. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/report/2011/07/25/9992/the-black-and-white-labor-gap-in-america/.