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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>