In 1970, according to the research, conducted by Stanford economist Raj Chetty and several co-authors, roughly nine out of every 10 American 30-year-olds earned more than their parents did at the same age, after adjusting for inflation. In 2014, only half of 30-year-olds could say the same.1 The slowdown in mobility shows up in all 50 states and is true across the income spectrum. The biggest declines were among the children of middle-class families.I have to say that this is literally true for myself, in that my father, when he was 30, was working as an engineer already, and I was in the middle of my graduate school/postdoctoral training. That said, it will be interesting (he said quietly, hopefully) to see what our respective inflation-adjusted earnings will be at 50.
I also wonder if this is true for chemists. For example, how are entry-level or mid-career Ph.D. chemists doing, compared to their cohorts 10, 20 or 30 years ago? I don't think we have good data on this, even as I remind us that the median ACS member (in 2014) has lost ground against inflation for over a decade.