70% of poor children today will fail to make it to the middle class as adults

by Ryan Streeter on January 20, 2014. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

This Scott Winship post is important for two reasons.

First, it’s a nice summary of the shortcomings of research on both income inequality and mobility. He cuts through the research behind recent much-hyped studies on inequality and mobility and concludes, “Not only has income inequality not grown as much as many suggest, but intergenerational mobility has probably not declined much—if at all—in the past three decades.”

The second reason it’s an important post is because he leaves us with this challenge:

While upward mobility has not diminished over time, and while it has not been hurt by rising income inequality, it has nevertheless been stuck at unacceptably low levels for decades. If past patterns hold, 70 percent of poor children today will fail to make it to the middle class as adults. Four in ten will be mired in poverty themselves in midlife.