Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Growing Income Gap Among U.s. Families Suggests Increasing Economic Insecurity, Threat to Middle Class

19.12.2008
The incomes of American families with children have become increasingly stratified since 1975, with income inequality increasing two-thirds during a 30-year period, according to findings published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed science journal American Sociological Review.

“The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is widening for families with children in the United States,” said Bruce Western, the study’s lead author and professor of sociology and director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard University. “Inequality for these families has grown faster than the combined rates of inequality for all families and for men’s hourly wages.”

Unlike previous narrower research focusing on the effect of education, single parenthood or a mother’s employment on family income inequality, this study combined labor market and demographic analyses to identify inequalities. It used data from the March supplements of the Current Population Survey from 1976 to 2006, yielding annual income data from 1975 to 2005.

Sources of the widening gap included the growing income advantage for college graduates. Families with college-educated parents made increasingly more money than families headed by high school graduates. Also contributing to the gap: low-income single parents. By the early 2000s, nearly one-quarter of mothers were single. Single-parent families accounted for about a quarter of the growth in income inequality by 1993.

Despite these stratifying factors, some trends helped to close the gap between rich and poor. Increased rates of women’s employment balanced the growth of inequality resulting from single-parent families, while rising levels of education among parents helped to narrow the gap as well.

The researchers also examined income disparities within demographic groups categorized by education and family type. Incomes were the least variable within two-parent families with working mothers. Inequality was greatest within single-parent families without a working mother. Regardless of family type, the gap between high- and low-income families increased between 30 and 100 percent, making within-group inequality the leading cause of inequality for all families with children from 1975 to 2005.

“Our research suggests a broad increase in income insecurity that goes beyond low-skill workers and single parents and extends to families from every class,” Western said. “The polarization of family incomes among this generation has implications for the social and economic mobility of future generations and suggests the further erosion of the middle class in years to come.”

The research was co-authored by Harvard University sociologists Christine Percheski, a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, and Deirdre Bloome, a graduate student in sociology and social policy and a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. It was supported by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship and the New York University Center for Advanced Social Science Research.

The research article “Inequality among American Families with Children, 1975-2005” is available by request for members of the media. Contact Jackie Cooper, ASA’s Media Relations Officer, at jcooper@asanet.org or (202) 247-9871.

The American Sociological Review is the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

Jackie Cooper | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.asanet.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>