Income inequality in the United States is only growing, with the gap between the wealthiest one percent compared to the majority of wage earners at “unprecedented heights,” reports Maya Wesby, and for better or worse, the environment in which one is raised exerts the most impact on future earnings.
“How does this imbalanced economy set up the wealthy for generational success while condemning others to multigenerational poverty?” Wesby asks.
Naturally, a child born into a high-income earning family has been set up with an unfair advantage, so much so that “wealthy kids without fiscal responsibility are likely to stay wealthy at about the same rate as poor kids who work hard are likely to stay poor. In other words, the rich are likely to stay rich and the poor are likely to stay poor,” notes Wesby.
But, as researchers here and around the world have observed, there’s more to the passing on of wealth than mere inheritance. For example, growing up with affluence, influences everything from after-school activities college majors and, perhaps most significantly, the level of debt with which graduating students enter the workforce — and without intervention, perpetuates an unfair and pre-determined cycle of wealth and poverty.