Identifying Pathways for Upward Mobility

Identifying Pathways for Upward Mobility

As a result of discriminatory institutionalized policies and practices, children of color are less likely to be on track for healthy development than their white peers, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Based on data from the Social Genome Model — which identifies developmental and social mobility patterns from birth through ages 5, 8, 11, 15, 19, 24, and 30 — the report, Identifying Pathways for Upward Mobility (20 pages, PDF), found that Black and Latinx youth were less likely to be "on track" for well-being as measured across four developmental domains: cognitive, behavioral/social, psychological/emotional, and physical and mental health. According to the data, nearly two-thirds of white children were considered to be "on track" through every developmental stage, based on indicators such as birth weight, reading and math scores, GPA, involvement with the criminal justice system, and income, while only 17 percent of Black children and 34 percent of Latinx children were "on track" at birth and under 40 percent and about 54 percent at age 30. At the same time, the study found that of those who were "on track" at age 30, just 18 percent had been on track through all eight stages, while 39 percent had been "off track" in at least three stages, including more than two-thirds of African-American and over half of Latinx individuals who were "on-track" in adulthood. The report's authors argue that policies, programs, and practices that help children struggling in school or facing emotional, social, or health-related challenges can help them achieve stability and security later in adulthood.

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