Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Movin' Up and Down The Income Quintiles in 2 Yrs.

From the Census Bureau: Of households in the lowest income quintile in 2001, 28.6% were in a higher quintile in 2003; of those originally in the highest income quintile, 32.1% were in a lower quintile 2 years later.

In other words, in just a two-year period, 2 out of every 7 households in the lowest income quintile (bottom 20%) in 2001 moved up to a higher income group by 2003, and almost 1 out of every 3 households in the top income quintile in 2001 moved to a lower income group by 2003, suggesting significant income mobility over even very short periods of time.

8 Comments:

At 8/27/2008 9:15 AM, Blogger spencer said...

in other words the data has a lot of noise.

 
At 8/27/2008 10:24 AM, Anonymous LoneSnark said...

As we would predict it would. Afterall, losing ones job or taking an extended vacation will put you in a lower quintile, and then getting it back will put you back up in a higher one.

 
At 8/27/2008 2:17 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

I have seen that work out in real life. I've done it. Not noise, just fact.

 
At 8/27/2008 6:03 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Afterall, losing ones job or taking an extended vacation will put you in a lower quintile, and then getting it back will put you back up in a higher one.

But your supposition above is (or appears to be) that it's just the same ones bouncing in and out of whatever quintile they are in, and not an actual flux of people up and down the scale.

The undercurrent is that it's still unfair somehow (even if you don't mean that yourself, many others will interpret what you suggest that way)

In longer tracking, the flux is less quantum than you suggest. Real income goes up and down, and people drift in and out of one quintile or another. The qualities which give one an income in the top quintile (education or talent) do generally keep one high, but mobility -- and esp. mobility of children -- is inordinately high in the USA.

You may well be some lower-class punk from the wrong side of the tracks, but you can hit it rich using your natural and learned talents, and change that.

 
At 8/28/2008 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You may well be some lower-class punk from the wrong side of the tracks, but you can hit it rich using your natural and learned talents, and change that."

Yet not all of the factors that determine what quintile you end up in are in your locus of control as you seem to imply.

Try to do your 3rd grade math homework with your natural talents while your drunk dad beats the sh!t out of you. You probably won't learn a whole lot.

 
At 8/28/2008 12:17 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Try to do your 3rd grade math homework with your natural talents while your drunk dad beats the sh!t out of you. You probably won't learn a whole lot.

...And how does socialism help this, when it's the drunk dad and the enabling mother who benefits from it?

Strangely enough, it's amazing how often talent rises above such, when given a chance, and given the right kind of encouragement.

One thing we do know -- throwing money at it isn't the solution. We'vee been doing that sort of thing now for 40 years, and they're a lot worse off than they were before The Great Society helped them into an endless state of illiteracy and social dependency.

 
At 8/29/2008 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Strangely enough, it's amazing how often talent rises above such, when given a chance, and given the right kind of encouragement.

One thing we do know -- throwing money at it isn't the solution. "

Do you think those two statements might be at odds with each other? I indeed agree with your first point, but the question is how to get that encouragement? A kid with said talents deserves a reasonably fair shot at getting a k-12 education, IMHO.

Money can do a lot of things; its all about how you use it.

 
At 8/29/2008 4:11 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Money can do a lot of things; its all about how you use it.

Money can solve just about all problems that are material or labor based, which is one hell of a lot of the problems which matter.

Even some social ones can be resolved with the right attitudes.

Whether they are worth it is a different matter, and depends an awful lot on whose money it is and whose choice it is on what to spend it.

I have not the slightest objection to encouraging kids to get educations all the way through to a PhD, as long as those PhDs are in something society has a use for -- we don't need 400,000 Byzantine History PhDs, for example. This is one reason why NOT having the government pay for things beyond a certain basic level is a good idea -- when people have to spend their own money they make better choices about how to spend it than if they are using someone else's money to pay for it. If the government is paying for your history major, you may not consider that a BS in History does not have a lot of utility in the job market. But if you're taking out loans to pay for it, you might choose instead to study something you like a bit less but which pays a hell of a lot better.

As far as k-12, I've commented in other threads on CD, that the current system is a complete and utter failure, and that the entire system should be scrapped, with 75% of the current per-student amounts placed into vouchers -- and 10% of anything less than the whole voucher is charged, then the parent gets to keep that.

Privatize all teaching and let parents put their kids into any school, little red schoolhouse, or tutoring system that will take their voucher and/or any additional monies the parents choose to put up.

Add some special add-ons for officially handicapped kids (while limiting the percentage of students who can qualify as "handicapped" excepting for one-off special exemptions) and the system will, for the most part, fix itself.

It is insane that we spend over $10k per student in most places yet literacy and numeracy rates are so low as to suggest criminal incompetence and fraud.

The existing system does not need "more money" -- anywhere, any conditions -- it needs purpose re-instilled in it, which isn't something that comes from money, but accountability.

Simple testing doesn't solve it because then the teachers teach to the test rather than teaching well enough that the testing gets passed anyway.

Fire 'em all -- teachers and adminstrators and staff, dissolve the unions, and sell the school grounds to anyone who will continue to provide them access as educational function (assuming they aren't vermin-infested, at least) -- allowing teacher co-ops to form, individual tutors to arrange for a classroom environment to work in (i.e., a tutor-teacher with a half-dozen full-time students), and so on.


I'd lay you huge odds you'd get much better function out of that for less cost.

 

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