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Income Mobility Redux

Income Mobility Redux

| November 29, 2017

I took last week off from blogging to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and recuperate from a cold.  I hope you all did the same, except for the cold!

A couple weeks ago, I highlighted by email a September blog post about brackets in America titled Income Inequality.  Last week, Mark Perry posted an update on his blog discussing mobility among income brackets that I hope you will find encouraging.  A portion follows and here is a link to the entire post: Tuesday Evening Links


Chart of the Day (above) displays some of the findings of Professors Thomas Hirschl (Cornell) and Mark Rank (Washington University) from their research paper “The Life Course Dynamics of Affluence,” which I featured a few days ago on CD, see here. As Mark Rank wrote in a 2015 New York Times article about his research with Thomas Hirschl, “Rather than being a place of static, income-based social tiers, America is a place where a large majority of people will experience either wealth or poverty — or both — during their lifetimes.” The chart above is based on the data in Table 2 of the research paper and shows the following remarkable finding on income mobility in America:

More than half of American adults (53.1%) will be in the top 10% of the income distribution for one or more years between the ages of 25 and 60. But staying in the top 10% is much less likely, and only about one in three Americans (35.4%) will remain in the top 10% for two consecutive years between ages of 25 and 60, about one in four (26.7%) for three or more consecutive years, about one in five (21.7%) for four or more years, and only about one in 13 (7.8%) will stay in the top 10% for ten consecutive years or more.

Opportunity and income mobility still abounds in our free enterprise system.  The evidence is in; the studies prove it.

Until next time, cheers!