Why the Wealth Gap Hits Families the Hardest

Income inequality describes the gap between a six-figure salary and minimum wage. But the more alarming gap occurs in wealth — a household’s total assets minus debts.

.. According to our research, wealth inequality is much worse among families with children, and the gap has widened greatly over the past two decades

.. The demographer Samuel Preston warned in 1984 that the United States had made “a set of private and public choices that have dramatically altered the age profile of well-being,” by devoting resources toward improving conditions for the elderly while neglecting to do the same for families with children.

.. Unlike income, which can change quickly because of a booming economy or a rise in the minimum wage, changes in wealth usually happen slowly.

.. Parental wealth is also a critical determinant of where children live and the quality of the schools they attend. It can affect the kind of job they have, if and when they marry, and whether they own their homes.