Direct connections exist between the odds for upward mobility and race, ethnicity, and gender.
‘Moving up’ is especially tough for those in middle-income backgrounds, but the challenges are even more pronounced when considering gender and education. Workers who are near the middle of the earnings distribution (40th to 70th percentile) at the age of 30 are now 20 percent less likely to make it into the top wage bracket (top 20 percent)
Having children has a tangible impact on incomes: higher-income men get a ‘fatherhood bonus’ while women of all incomes experience a ‘motherhood penalty.’ The motherhood penalty, however, is not felt equally: lower income women experience the largest income ‘penalties’ for having children. “The fact that low income women bear a substantial motherhood penalty that is not offset by a fatherhood bonus among low income men means that simple fixes such as encouraging marriage are not likely to solve the problem.” (Budig, 2014)
Black Americans are less likely to be in higher income quintiles as adults than their white peers. 16% of White Americans live in the top income quintile by age 40, compared to just 3% of Black Americans.