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ERIC Number: ED539513
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 35
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
Parental Job Loss and Children's Educational Attainment in Black and White Middle-Class Families. National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #10-06
Kalil, Ariel; Wightman, Patrick
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan
Objectives: We aim to understand why blacks are significantly less likely than whites to perpetuate their middle class status across generations. To do so, we focus on the potentially different associations between parental job loss and youth's educational attainment in black and white middle class families. Methods: We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), following those children "born" into the survey between 1968 and 1979 and followed through age 21. We conduct multivariate regression analyses to test the association between parental job loss during childhood and youth's educational attainment by age 21. Results: We find that parental job loss is associated with a lesser likelihood of obtaining any post-secondary education for all offspring, but that the association for blacks is almost three times as strong. A substantial share of the differential impact of job loss on black and white middle class youth is explained by race differences in household wealth, long-run measures of family income, and, especially, parental experience of long-term unemployment. Conclusions: These findings highlight the fragile economic foundation of the black middle-class and suggest that intergenerational persistence of class status in this population may be highly dependent on the avoidance of common economic shocks. (Contains 4 tables, 2 figures and 11 footnotes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by a William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholars Award.]
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan. Joan and Sanford Weill Hall Suite 5100, 735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Tel: 734-615-5312; Fax: 734-615-8047; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: National Poverty Center