Posts tagged ‘class divide’

October 15, 2013

College-educated households are gaining in economic clout

by Grace

College-educated households account for a growing share of income. a trend associated with an overall increase in the number of college graduates,  a growing college wage premium, and changing marriage patterns.

20131007.COCCollegeEducatedIncome1

For the first time on record, households headed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree received nearly a majority (49.7%) of aggregate U.S. household income; nearly one out of every two dollars went to the college educated.  In 2012 one-in-three households was college educated, so, put another way, half of the aggregate U.S. income goes to one third of the households.

While most of the income gain is due to the growth in the percentage of college-educated households, the growing wage premium and the state of marriage  may also be influencing the disproportionate income growth among this group.

COLLEGE WAGE PREMIUM — The college wage premium has been growing, from a ratio of about 1.7 in 1991 to almost 2.0 in 2010.

Earnings of four-year college-educated workers remain nearly twice those of high school-educated workers.

20131007.COCCollegeWagePremium2

MARRIAGE —

… College-educated households are more likely to be married and thus more likely to have secondary earners contributing to household income.

… “assortative mating” … married college-educated persons are more likely to have a college-educated spouse. Thus, they are more likely to have a spouse with high earnings.


Growing divisions?

These trends seem consistent with the idea of a growing class divide in our country.  Although it’s doubtful that economic and political divisions completely overlap, it is notable that the growing concentration of economic power among the college-educated elite coincides with what the Washington Post describes as “deeply embedded divisions in America’s politics”.

Related:  Non-marital births by education level as part of the growing class divide (Cost of College)

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May 23, 2012

More on the ‘bifurcation’ of higher education

by Grace

Nicholas Lemann argues that elite colleges are actually priced too low.

Where higher education is actually underpriced is in the top-tier schools. That may sound offensive, but price is determined by what people are willing to pay, and the top twenty-five or so schools in the country could charge even more than they do. The number of applications to those schools continues to grow faster than their cost. (Ivy League colleges will charge about sixty thousand dollars next year.) That’s because the perceived value of their degrees continues to rise. Now that we know that either Obama or Romney will be President next year, we also know that, from 1989 through at least 2017, every President of the United States will have had a degree from either Harvard or Yale or, in the case of George W. Bush, both. That could be a three-decade accident, or it may be a sign of something lasting—the educational version of the inequality surge, elevating “one per cent” institutions far above the rest.
… 


The trend in higher education may be in the direction of sharper class distinctions, and Lemann thinks pumping more taxpayer money into more colleges will improve opportunity and help society.

In higher education, the United States may be on its way to becoming more like the rest of the world, with a small group of schools controlling access to life membership in the élite. And higher education is becoming more like other areas of American life, with the fortunate few institutions distancing themselves ever further from the many. All those things which commencement speakers talk about—personal growth, critical-thinking skills, intellectual exploration, breadth of learning—will survive at the top institutions, but other colleges will come under increased pressure to adopt the model of trade schools. Student loans open access to students, and give colleges more freedom. Obama and Romney will have plenty to disagree about, and it’s good that the interest rate on student loans isn’t on the list. For the federal government to pump extra tuition money into the system, in the form of low-cost loans, in order to spread opportunity more widely, and to allow more schools to provide more than skills instruction, seems like a small price to pay for the kind of society it buys.

I don’t think simply pumping extra tuition money into the system will bolster the growth of rigorous institutions that produce intellectual graduates with strong critical thinking skills.  The problem I see is a scarcity of high school graduates adequately prepared for those types of colleges.  Unless that changes, we’re likely to continue to see the growing bifurcation between elite universities and “trade schools”.

February 23, 2012

Non-marital births by education level as part of the growing class divide

by Grace

Declining marriage rates and non-marital births are only a problem for those without college degrees. (Assuming you believe this is a problem, of course.) Here’s the stark data.


CHARLES MURRAY has been harshly criticized for writing about this trend in his latest book,  Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, but it seems the New York Times has also not been shy about reporting how education and race correlate with non-marital births.

Large racial differences remain: 73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.… Others noted that if they married, their official household income would rise, which could cost them government benefits like food stamps and child care…. Reviewing the academic literature, Susan L. Brown of Bowling Green State University recently found that children born to married couples, on average, “experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioral outcomes.”

Just talking about these issues of class, education, and race sometimes leads to charges of racism.  Curiously, the NY Times chose not to allow comments on their stories referenced in this post.  Maybe they were afraid the topic would generate excessive inflammatory rhetoric.

UPDATE:   One single mom is upset that the liberal elite have joined conservatives in moralizing about fatherless children.

More Single Moms. So What.  –  The New York Times condescends to single moms.
This proud single mother and NYU journalism professor, who is definitely not “too poor to marry,” is insulted by a New York Times article on the 53 percent illegitimate-birth rate among females under 30, which she thinks covertly telegraphs the message that unwed moms can’t in fact do it all… Marriage, Roiphe reveals triumphantly, “does not ensure eternal love, or even eternal security.” Now we know.

Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure – NYTimes, 2/18/12

Five myths about white people – Washington Post, 2/10/12

Related:  College-educated women marry at higher rates

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