The Moderating Role of Wealth for Intergenerational Income Persistence by Race/Ethnicity

Ryan Finnigan , University of California, Davis

Income and wealth exhibit strong intergenerational persistence, and both are highly stratified by race/ethnicity. Past research tends to examine racial/ethnic disparities in income and wealth separately, but this study conceptualizes economic security as combinations of income and wealth. I examine the intergenerational transmission of racial/ethnic differences in economic security from childhood to young adulthood using data from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. When predicting adult economic security, I find that high parental net worth compensates for low parental income for White children. There is some compensation for Black children but to a weaker degree. Latino/a children are especially upwardly mobile, but parental net worth has little association with adult economic security net of parental income. Overall, the results demonstrate that Black and Latino/a children have much lower economic security than White children, and that economic security is less likely to be reproduced in adulthood.

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 Presented in Session 31. Wealth and Debt Disparities