The United States does not currently invest heavily in vocational training compared with other countries, and funding for vocational training has declined over the past decades. The United States spends less than 0.05 percent of its gross domestic product on vocational training opportunities for workers.
While social mobility and economic opportunity are important aspects of the American ethos, the data suggest they are more myth than reality. In fact, a child’s family income plays a dominant role in determining his or her future income, and those who start out poor are likely to remain poor. This figure shows the chances that a child’s future earnings will place him in the lowest the or the highest quintile depending on where his parents fell in the distribution (from left to right on the figure, the lowest, middle, and highest quintiles).
Graduates of majors with initially low earnings experience faster earnings growth during the early-career years.
Since about 1980, the growth of single-parent families has been driven almost entirely by an increase in childbearing outside of marriage, often the result of people sliding into relationships and having an unplanned baby.
The U.S. minimum wage now stands at 38 percent of the median wage, the third-lowest among OECD countries.
This chart presents the schedule for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for tax year 2014 and possible adjustments to maximize the impact.