The Center for American Progress has a nifty study about income mobility in the US, which looks at how much there is (or, more precisely, isn’t), what factors influence it the most, how it compares over time, and so on. It also has a short international comparison, which should lay waste to the libertarian argument that the US is the land of opportunity. Read or at least skim the entire thing, but here are a few key findings:
- The regression coefficient between parents’ and children’s income is 0.47 in the US, 0.5 in the UK, 0.41 in France, 0.32 in Germany, 0.27 in Sweden, 0.19 in Canada, 0.18 in Finland, 0.17 in Norway, and 0.15 in Denmark.
- The difference between white and black social mobility is huge, so statistically significant that its p-value is 0 to 3 decimal places. Of all whites born in the bottom quartile, 32.3% stay there and 14.2% go to the top; of all blacks, it’s 62.9% and 3.6% respectively.
- While the difference between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics (a 27% income gap) is reduced to statistical insignificance (15%, p = 0.19), such as income and education, the difference between blacks and whites is barely affected, dropping from 33% to 28% and remaining significant at p = 0 to 3 decimal places.
Among the subjects I’ve been meaning to write about is racism, and the different kinds of it in the world. This certainly strengthens my view that American racism against blacks is something unique and different from American racism against other ethnic groups, which mirrors the most common forms of racism in the rest of the Western world.