Items tagged with income:

News & Updates:

  • Senate stopgap bill averts shutdown. The Senate passed stopgap spending legislation today that wi...
    Trump administration to allow record low number of refugees into the U.S.; Democrats, utilizing whistleblower report, push for election security; Senate stopgap bill averts shutdown; Personal income increased 0.4 percent in August 2019
  • Image: Support housing and end homeless. Source: Flickr.
    K.Y. McChesney wrote a now-famous analogy between homelessness and a game of musical chairs. The people playing the game are low-income households and the chairs are affordable housing units. When the music stops, all of the players rush to claim a chair. If there are more players than seats, some players are left standing. In the same way, if there are more low-income households than available affordable housing units, some people are left homeless. In the current US game of “affordable housing musical chairs,” more players are being added and more affordable housing chairs are being removed – leaving more people standing when the music stops.[1]
  • With trade talks on the horizon, China drops tariffs on some U.S. goods. The country announced on...
    With trade talks on the horizon, China drops tariffs on some U.S. goods; Drug prices on election agenda for both Republicans and Democrats ahead of 2020; Trump pushing for California homeless crackdown; California approves bill that requires app-based companies to treat their workers as employees; Median U.S. household income remains static in 2018. 
  • Professor Ioana Marinescu
    In a discussion on Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang’s basic universal income idea, the authors cite Professor Ioana’s research on the Alaska Permanent Fund, the closest active comparison to Yang’s policy. 
  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Laura W. Perna
    According to research by Penn GSE Professor Laura Perna, data shows that inequalities continue to persist in higher education that uniquely disadvantage students of the lowest income brackets. However, the Perna argues that this presents a unique oppertunity for federal and state lawmakers to design new policies that help support low-income, first generation, and differently abled students.


  • A Mobile America?

    Author: Anne Marie Bonner, MS’14

    "You've probably heard of The Great Gatsby. But what about The Great Gatsby Curve?"

    “You’ve probably heard of The Great Gatsby. But what about The Great Gatsby Curve?”

    On January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama, in his second inaugural address to the nation, articulated a vision of the American Dream that is frequently echoed by Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own” (Obama para.11). Yet this American ethos, passed down from generation to generation, periodically requires reevaluation. How healthy is the American Dream in the twenty-first century? How realistic is upward socio-economic mobility for working poor and middle class families today?

    There are two important, and inextricable, ways to assess economic mobility: (1) Absolute mobility measures whether an individual “has more or less income, earnings, or wealth than his or her parents did at the same age” whereas (2) relative mobility evaluates a person’s “rank on the income, earnings, or wealth ladder compared to his or her parents’ rank at the same age” (Pew 1). In terms of absolute mobility, families across the socio-economic spectrum are doing well. According to a 2012 report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project, eighty-four percent of all Americans have higher family incomes and fifty percent have greater family wealth than their parents held at the same age (Pew 2).

    However, in terms of relative mobility, many Americans, particularly those living in the lowest income and wealth brackets, are struggling to move up the economic ladder. Currently, “forty-three percent of Americans raised in the bottom quintile remain stuck in the bottom as adults, and seventy percent remain below the middle” (Pew 2). Imagine for a moment that there are one hundred children who are born into the lowest economic bracket of our society. Forty-three of those children will be unable to move out of that bracket in adulthood. An additional twenty-seven children will be unable to move beyond the second to lowest bracket. That means more than two-thirds of all children living in the poorest families will remain in those circumstances as adults. This phenomenon is frequently referred to as the principle of “stickiness at the ends,” which posits that people who are born at the bottom of the income and wealth distribution ladder are more likely to remain stuck at that level as adults than those who start out in a higher bracket (Pew 2). Children living in lower-middle and middle income families fair only slightly better, with half of lower-middle class children and one third of all middle class children living in the bottom two economic quintiles in adulthood (Pew 6). The socio-economic outcomes of children in each successive generation are becoming more dependent on the positions and backgrounds of their parents, as evidenced by national intergenerational elasticity rates ranging from 0.4 to 0.6, with 1.0 representing rigid stratification (Beller & Hout 26).


    Recent studies suggest correlations between mobility and several external factors, including race, education, family structure, and the size and distribution of the middle class in a given residential area. There is a substantial racial gap in terms of economic mobility. Over half of African-American children born into the lowest economic quintile remain there as adults, while only one-third of White children remain in this bracket as adults (Pew 20). According to a Pew research study, a college degree is one of the “most promising ways to climb the economic ladder.” A staggering ninety percent of children with a college education who were raised in the lowest economic quintile move into higher income and wealth brackets as adults (Pew 25). The number and dispersion of middle class families in a given area also influences the level of relative mobility in that region. In a July 2013 study entitled “The Equality of Opportunity Project,” Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren and Berkeley economists Patrick Kline and Emmanuel Saez observed a lower relative mobility rate in areas that had a smaller and less diffused middle class. For example, in Atlanta, children from the bottom quintile have only a four percent chance of reaching the top bracket in adulthood. This is contrasted with Salt Lake City, where the relative upward mobility rate is 24.9%, and the chance of a child born into the bottom quintile to reach the top quintile in adulthood is 11.5% (Chetty et al. Data Set).

    Promoting greater economic mobility is a complex process, with a variety of educational, employment, political, and social dynamics simultaneously at work. Opportunity Nation is “a bipartisan, cross-sector national campaign made up of more than 250 non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, community organizations, and individuals all working together to expand economic opportunity and close the opportunity gap in America” (Opportunity Nation Who we are para. 1). This organization is currently advocating on behalf of three bills that are undergoing review in their respective Congressional committees: the Careers Through Responsive, Efficient and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act, the American Dream Accounts Act, and the Community College to Career Fund Act.

    The American Dream Accounts Act, reintroduced by Senator Chris Coons [D-DE] and Senator Marco Rubio [R-FL] in May 2013, “authorize[s] the creation of online college savings accounts combined with resources and support intended to help more students access a college education that leads to a career” (Opportunity Nation American Dream Accounts Act para. 2). This bill leverages the power of financial literacy, good savings practices and holistic academic engagement to help low-income students access higher education and move up the socio-economic ladder in adulthood. Other policies, such as the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013, focus on targeting and reducing liquid asset poverty by incentivizing savings practices among low-income households. This approach has proven to be effective in two randomized control trials in New York City and Tulsa City (Bloomberg 9). As these and other legislative proposals are reviewed and debated in Congress, policy makers from across the political and ideological spectrum continue to search for solutions to improve mobility prospects for upcoming generations.



    1. Beller, E. & Hout, M. “Intergenerational social mobility: The United States in comparative perspective.” The Future of Children, 2006: Vol. 16, 19-36.
    2. Bloomberg, Michael R. “$aveUSA Program Implementation: Insights from the Field.” New York City / Center for Economic Opportunity Social Innovation Fund. 10 November 2013. Web. 2012. < >.
    3. Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Kline, P. & Saez, E. “Mobility in the 100 Largest Commuting Zones.” The Equality of Opportunity Project. 10 November 2013. Web. 2013. <http://www.equality-of- >.
    4. Obama, President Barack. “Inaugural Address.” The White House Office of the Press Secretary. 10 November
    5. 2013. Web. 2013. < president-barack-obama >.
    6. Opportunity Nation. “Advocacy.”10 November 2013. Web. 2013. < >.
    7. The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations.” The
    8. Pew Charitable Trusts. 10 November 2013. Web. 2012. < >.


  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>