Brand New Social Mobility Data in 3 Charts

Raj Chetty and friends are out with the second big release from their Equality of Opportunity data project. The headline finding is that social mobility has not declined in the last half century, as some have suggested. Instead, it has been persistently bad.

As far as income goes, the richer your parents are, the richer you are, on average (years here refer to birth years).

When we look at college attendance at age 19, we see basically the same trend. The richer the kid is, the more likely they are to be in college at age 19:

These findings largely confirm what we already know: rich kids have a massive advantage over poor kids in life. Those who legitimize our economic system and its attendant inequality by appealing to social mobility are empirically bankrupt.

In reality, we live in one of the most unequal and socially immobile countries in the world, at least among rich industrialized nations. The easiest and most proven way to counteract that is to distribute income and resources more equally, something neither major party seems particularly interested in.