Sonya Porter

Bureau of the Census
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Washington, DC 20233

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2018Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective
with Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones: w24441
We study the sources of racial and ethnic disparities in income using de-identified longitudinal data covering nearly the entire U.S. population from 1989-2015. We document three sets of results. First, the intergenerational persistence of disparities varies substantially across racial groups. For example, Hispanic Americans are moving up significantly in the income distribution across generations because they have relatively high rates of intergenerational income mobility. In contrast, black Americans have substantially lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than whites, leading to large income disparities that persist across generations. Conditional on parent income, the black-white income gap is driven entirely by large differences in wages and employment r...
August 2017Race Matters: Income Shares, Income Inequality, and Income Mobility for All U.S. Races
with Randall Akee, Maggie R. Jones: w23733
This paper presents income shares, income inequality, and income immobility measures for all race and ethnic groups in the United States using the universe of U.S. tax returns matched at the individual level to U.S. Census race data for 2000–2014. Whites and Asians have a disproportionately large share of income in top quantiles. Income for most race groups ranges between 50–80 percent of the corresponding White income level consistently across various percentiles in the overall income distribution—suggesting that class alone cannot explain away overall income differences. The rate of income growth at the 90th percentile exceeds that of the 50th and 10th percentiles for all race and ethnic groups; divergence is largest for Whites, however, in the post-Great Recession era. Income immobility...
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