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Americans are earning more than their parents

February 26, 2013: 5:01 PM ET

The good news: Americans are much more likely to have higher incomes than their parents. But just how much more depends greatly on their race, education and their parents' income level, according to new Pew Economic Mobility Project data.

Some 83% exceed their parents' income by at least $1,000.

Those born rich are more likely to greatly out earn their parents. For instance, 27% of those raised in the highest-income families made $50,000 more than their folks. Only 11% in the lowest-income group beat their parents by that amount.

At the same time, starting off rich makes it that much tougher to exceed your parents – they were much more likely to earn less than mom and dad than those who started poor. Some 30% of those from rich families earned at least $1,000 below their parents.

When it comes to race, whites were more likely than blacks to earn at least $1,000 more than their parents, no matter how much their parents' income was.

When it comes to wealth, fewer Americans are exceeding their parents' nest eggs. "This generation has more income, but are not necessarily more financially secure," said Erin Currier, the project's director.


To learn more about Americans' mobility across generations by income level, race, education and more, access Pew's interactive here.

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About This Author
Tami Luhby
Tami Luhby
Senior writer, CNNMoney

Tami Luhby is a senior writer at CNNMoney and covers income inequality, state fiscal problems, unemployment, housing policy and other economic issues. Luhby previously covered personal finance for Newsday and banking for Crain's New York Business.

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