Racial and Ethnic Income Inequality and Mobility from 2000 to 2013: Evidence from Matched IRS-Census Bureau Data
Friday, November 4, 2016
Columbia Ballroom (Washington Hilton)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Using unique linked Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Census Bureau data matched at the individual level, we examine the differences in levels and trends for income inequality and mobility across racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Our data encompasses the entire universe of tax filers in the U.S. for the period 2000 to 2013, matched with individual-level demographic information from multiple censuses and American Community Surveys. We document both income inequality and mobility trends over the period of the Great Recession in the U.S. While previous research has focused on inequality and mobility for the country as a whole or at the top income deciles, we examine the entire income distribution disaggregated by race and ethnic groups. We find significant stratification in terms of average incomes by race and ethnic group and distinct differences in income inequality. The groups with the highest incomes, non-Hispanic whites and Asians, also have the highest levels of inequality and lowest levels of mobility. The converse is true for the lowest income groups, non-Hispanic Blacks, American Indians, and Hispanics; however, their higher levels of mobility do not suggest a convergence upward in terms of average income with other groups over time, but stagnation at the bottom.