The Reproduction of Privilege
Instead of serving as a springboard to social mobility as it did for the first decades after World War II, college education today is reinforcing class stratification, with a huge majority of the 24 percent of Americans aged 25 to 29 currently holding a bachelor’s degree coming from families with earnings above the median income.
Seventy-four percent of those now attending colleges that are classified as “most competitive,” a group that includes schools like Harvard, Emory, Stanford and Notre Dame, come from families with earnings in the top income quartile, while only three percent come from families in the bottom quartile.
Not only does a college degree significantly boost income, it also helps protect against downward mobility. The Pew Charitable Trusts found in a 2011 study that those with just a high school degree or less are 13 percent more likely to experience significant downward mobility – seeing their income fall substantially below what their parents made – than those with college degrees.
Read the full article at nytimes.com.
- Economic Mobility Project