The American Dream may be just a dream for African-Americans, according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit research organization.
A survey comparing the income and wealth of Americans with that of their parents at the same age shows a very different outlook for Blacks versus the rest of America.
The survey found that 84 percent of Americans were shown to have higher income than their parents, when adjusted for inflation. However, for African Americans, that number is much smaller with only 23 percent of blacks raised in the middle class being wealthier than their parents, compared to 56 percent of Whites.
These results are not far from what a similar survey found in 2008, the study’s project manager Erin Currier said.
“With the newest update to the data, we can see that not much has changed with a few more years of data added in,” Erin said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “Specifically, African Americans are much more likely than whites to be stuck at the bottom of the income ladder over a generation, and also at the bottom of the wealth ladder.”
Black people are also more likely to fall from the middle class she added.
The survey analyzed income data over five years using a nationally representative sample of more than 18,000 people apart of 5,000 families in the United States. Researchers analyzed five years for the parents and five separate years for the children with both groups being at a common age and similar positions of marriage, income and post-secondary education, Erin said.
“It is the case that African-American families manage to get to the middle class and they have some sense of economic security, but their ability to pass that on to their kids is not as high as the white families,” she said.
The study does not explore reasons for the gap, but other research has looked into African-American children being raised in high poverty neighborhoods, marital status, incarceration and education as possible factors.
Despite whatever causes the disparity, the findings still threaten the standard American Dream.
“A defining factor of the American dream is that a person’s family background or income has no bearing on where he or she ends up,” Erin said in an interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal, “but the study shows otherwise.”
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