A recently published longitudinal study by Cornell University shows that, by age 60, approximately 70% of all households will have experienced at least one year within the top 20th percentile of income. Moreover, 53% will have experienced at least one year within the top 10th percentile, and 36% will have experienced at least one year within the top 5th percentile.
These types of numbers suggest great opportunity for most people to achieve affluence at some point in their working career. Unfortunately, blacks are not allowed this opportunity at the same rate as the general population. The authors of the study write that there are “persisting patterns of social inequality related to past and present discrimination and exclusion. Thus it would be misguided to presume that top-level income attainment is solely a function of hard work, diligence, and equality of opportunity.”
While lack of income mobility certainly affects blacks nationwide, it more greatly affects Southern states like Alabama due to the higher concentration of African-Americans in the region. For instance, blacks make up 26.6% of Alabama residents while blacks only make up 13.2% of the nation overall. (Alabama Media Group)