Family stability helps ensure that our homes provide an environment to support mobility later in life. Learn the ways that families can help ensure long-term mobility isn't out of reach.
Family is a key component of socioeconomic mobility. The families we are born into and grow up with form the foundation on which we build our lives. Researchers have identified many ways that the circumstances of our families can alter the odds for upward mobility, from the power that a two-income household has on providing stability to the role that social connections can transfer from parent to child.
- Children born to households with two parents face better odds for upward mobility. Unfortunately, rates of children born to unmarried mothers are much lower for women who have pursued higher levels of education. Children born in these circumstances are more likely to have poor fetal health and further impacted by these issues later in their lives. Conditions that limit mobility also negatively impact the health and development of children which can compound issues for those children and families.
- Children borth to teenage mothers, women aged 15 to 19, often perform worse on cognitive tests, earn less at age 30, and are more likely to give birth as a teenager themselves.
- Children in single-mother households are less likely to escape poverty, or experience upward mobility, than children in single-father households and households with two parents (regardless of gender): these effects are roughly similar regardless of sex.
- Using the Social Genome Model, Sawhill et al (2014) found that unplanned children were less likely to be successful than their planned, or intended, peers through all stages of life. This averages out to about a 13.2 percentage point difference in expected outcomes, with adolescents experiencing the most challenges.