A new study by the Pew Charitable Trust reveals that black men, among others groups, are falling out of the middle class at a significant rate compared to their white counterparts during these tough economic times.
Just because you are born into the middle class doesn’t necessarily mean you stay within there as an adult — that is the main takeaway in the report by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project.
The report, “Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream,” identified several groups and trends that make one likely to have fallen out of the middle class in recent years.
Thirty-eight percent of black men fall out of the middle, compared to 21 percent of white men. In comparison, however, researchers found that white, black and Hispanic women are equally likely to drop out of the middle class.
The report also indicated that marriage and education influence whether a person becomes poorer. Those who are divorced, widowed or separated are more likely to slip down the economic ladder than are married couples. Further, those raised in middle-class homes and who go to college are also less likely to take a downward tumble.
“A variety of factors, including family background and personal choices, influence downward mobility from the middle class,” said Erin Currier, project manager of the Economic Mobility Project. “This report provides valuable information for policymakers who want to ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
The findings were the result of a longitudinal study of youths 14 to 17 years old living in their parents homes in 1979 and 1980. Researchers reassessed this group’s economic status in 2004 and 2005, when members of the group were 39 to 44 years old.