Income Security Policy Paper No. 11

Slow Motion: Economic Mobility of Young Workers in the 1970s and 1980s

Greg J. Duncan, Johanne Boisjoly, and Timothy M. Smeeding

September 1995 

Abstract:  This paper investigates the question of how long it takes young male workers to earn enough to reach a given standard of living, e.g., enough to support a family. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data on the earnings of children and their parents to answer these questions. Our findings are that all groups of men, classified by race, ethnicity, and education level, are taking longer to reach a given standard of living. Some, e.g., undereducated black males, will never reach middle class standards of living for themselves. Implications for household formation, marriage, and public policy are discussed in closing.

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