Rich Getting Richer, Poor Poorer
Frank Stafford, who headed the investigation, is an Economics professor at the University of Michigan and co-directs the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) - "...a nationally representative longitudinal study of nearly 8000 US families. Following the same families and individuals since 1968, the PSID collects data on economic, health, and social behaviour." [source]
A Brief History of The PSID
The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), begun in 1968, is a longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S. individuals (men, women, and children) and the family units in which they reside. It emphasizes the dynamic aspects of economic and demographic behavior, but its content is broad, including sociological and psychological measures. As a consequence of low attrition rates and the success in following young adults as they form their own families and recontact efforts (of those declining an interview in prior years), the sample size has grown from 4,800 families in 1968 to more than 7,000 families in 2001. At the conclusion of 2003 data collection, the PSID will have collected information about more than 65,000 individuals spanning as much as 36 years of their lives.
The central focus of the data is economic and demographic, with substantial detail on income sources and amounts, employment, family composition changes, and residential location...While some information is collected about all individuals in the family unit, the greatest level of detail is ascertained for the primary adults heading the family unit.
Major Outcomes Of the Study
Over the past twenty years, the following trends were discovered (all normalized to 2005 US dollars):
- Top two percentile's wealth has almost doubled from around $1million to $2 million
- Poorest five percent had negative wealth - from $1000 in 1984 to $9000 in 2005
The researchers also focused on the years between 2003-2005:
- Average American family wealth increased 12%
- Average African American family wealth decreased <1%
- Individuals with some college education - wealth increased 31%
- College graduate wealth increased 10%
- High school drop out wealth decreased slightly
I am not a sociologist, so perhaps someone here on NowPublic can help decipher these results - why might the rich be geting richer, and the poor poorer? I can only imagine one thing - the rich keep exploiting the poor.