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ERIC Number: ED539514
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
Parental Job Loss and Children's Educational Attainment in Black and White Middle Class Families. National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #09-02
Kalil, Ariel; Wightman, Patrick
National Poverty Center, University of Michigan
Job loss remains a permanent feature of the American economy. Black and white children may experience parental job loss differently, even when they share the same class location. We address this question using 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 focus on middle-class families (defined here as an income between two and six times the appropriate poverty threshold around the time of the child's birth). 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 about four times as strong. Approximately 40% 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. We also find suggestive evidence that parental college experience mitigates the adverse associations between parental job loss and children's educational attainment. This work was supported in part by a William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholars Award to the first author and a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago to the second author. (Contains 5 tables, 2 figures and 17 footnotes.)
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: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William T. Grant Foundation
Authoring Institution: National Poverty Center