Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Well-Being of Black Middle Class Affected by Ties to Poor Siblings

Blacks teetering at the lower end of the middle-class spectrum are two and a half times as likely to have a low-income sibling as whites in the same socioeconomic bracket, the study shows. They also are four times as likely to have been poor when they were young, suggesting the relatively recent rise of many blacks to middle-class status.“Basically the study shows that blacks in the lower middle class are much less likely to have kin to call on when an occasion arises in which they need, say, quick cash for a hospital bill or to fix a car,” says Northwestern's Mary Pattillo, chair and professor of sociology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and co-investigator of the study. “And they are much more likely to have kin calling upon them for financial and other assistance.” The study, “Poverty in the Family: Race, Siblings and Socioeconomic Heterogenity,” by Pattillo and Colleen Heflin, University of Kentucky, will be published in the December issue of Social Science Research.


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