Overall, family income of blacks in their 30s was $35,000, 58 percent that of comparable whites, a gap that did not surprise researchers. Startling them, however, was that so many blacks fell out of the middle class to the bottom of the income distribution in one generation."this is, in part, due to increasing women in the work force. incomes among black men have actually declined in the past three decades, when adjusted for inflation. They were offset only by gains among black women. Incomes among white men, meanwhile, were relatively stagnant, while those of white women increased more than fivefold.
Another reason so many middle-class blacks appear to be downwardly mobile is likely the huge wealth gap separating white and black families of similar incomes. For every $10 of wealth a white person has, blacks have $1.
Overall, family incomes have risen for both blacks and whites over the past three decades. But ... black Americans have had more difficulty than whites in transmitting those benefits to their children.The result: In 2004, a typical black family had an income that was only 58 percent of a typical white family’s. In 1974, median black incomes were 63 percent those of whites.
We already knew that downward mobility was much more likely for blacks," said Mary Pattillo, a Northwestern University sociologist who studies the black middle class. "But this is an even bigger percentage drop than I have seen elsewhere. That's very steep." ... The reports found that about two-thirds of the children surveyed grew up to have higher family incomes than their parents had 30 years earlier. Grown black children were just as likely as whites to have higher incomes than their parents. However, incomes among whites increased more than those of their black counterparts.