UC Irvine Is Among the Top of Upward Mobility Universities

UC Irvine Is Among the Top of Upward Mobility Universities

The analysis is from a big data study of income tax data and college registration. The Source is “Mobility Report Cards: The Roll of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility”, by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, and Danny Yagan, “The Equality of Opportunity Project”, http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/

The presentation and some of the data in this article come from the Upshot of the NY Times. Much of it is quoted directly, without the quote signs.  Some of the UC Irvine only data comes from The Equality of Opportunity Project.

Berkeley News, by Kathleen Maclay, also wrote that Danny Yagan and Emmanuel Saez are UC Berkeley economists.  She also wrote that when ranking the best 50 colleges in U.S. News and World Reports for upward mobility, the top five schools are UC campuses.  UC Berkeley and UCLA are the number 1 and 2 schools for rising from the bottom fifth to the top 1% of income.

The Upward Mobility Top 10 is defined as the percentage of students that rose from the bottom fifth to the top 60% of the income distribution. Five of the top 10 are California colleges. The fourth is UC Irvine. Here is the list with the percentage of student who have achieved this.

1. New Jersey Institute of Technology, 85%
2. Pace, 82%
3. Cal State, Bakersfield, 82%
4. UC Irvine, 81%
5. Cal Poly, Pomona, 81%
6. Xavier of Louisiana, 80%
7. Stony Brook, 79%
8. San Jose State, 79%
9. Baruch, 79%
10. Cal State, Long Beach, 78%

Besides the ranking, the 81% upward mobility is very impressive.

UCLA is, and UC Irvine would be, at the top of elite colleges that enroll the highest percentage of low and middle-income students. The percentage of their students that are within the bracket of the lowest 40% in income is 19.2% for UCLA and 19.1% for UC Irvine. Next in line are Emory University at 15.9%, Barnard College at 15.3% and New York University at 14.3%. Oddly, UC Irvine is left off of the top 10 elite list. I guess we are not yet considered “elite”, as are none of the other UC campuses other than UCLA.  Is this some sort of programming error?  In my next blog post, I show all of the UC campuses.

In a table of the top 10 colleges with students starting in the lowest 40% of income and ending up in the top 40% of income, the only California college listed is California State University, Los Angeles. It has 60.0% of its students accomplishing this, from the classes of 2002 to 2004. It was listed as sixth among colleges. For comparison, City College of New York was listed as second, and 62.9% of its students achieved this success. UC Irvine was ranked 173 on this list, with 25.5% from the bottom 40%, with 70.3% success rate. (I was tipped off to this study following NY Times’ Paul Krugman’s tweets, who was proud of CCNY’s accomplishment.)

The median family income of a student from UC Irvine is $98,500, and 45% come from the top 20 percent (quoted from the Upshot of the NY Times). The average income percentile is 67th. The slice of students from the top 1% is 1.3%, from the top 5% is 12%, from the top 10% is 27%, and from the top 20% is 45%. The percentile from the bottom 20% is 8.7%. The top 1% requires an income of $630,000 or more. The top 20%, a family income of $110,000. The bottom fifth had family incomes below $20,000.

For UC Irvine graduates at age 34, the average individual income percentile is 71st. This exceeds their average family income percentile by that age. The top 1% of income has 3.6% of our students, the top 5% has 20%, the top 10%, 35%, the the top 20%, 54%, and the bottom 20%, 10%. 27% of our students moved up two or more income quintiles. A whopping 55% of students moved from the bottom fifth to the top fifth as adults. We matched UC Berkeley and UC San Diego in this, all at 55%. UC Santa Barbara had 50%, Among 25 highly selective public colleges, we were third, behind the Colorado School of Mines at 64%, and Georgia Tech at 57%.

Reading some graphs on access to UC Irvine, for students who were born in 1991, those from the bottom 60% were about 35%, above our peer schools.   Those in the top 20% are 45%, below most of our peer schools.  Those in the top 10% of income were about 27%, less than most of our peer schools.

For UC Irvine past students at age 34, the median individual income was $60,400, with the medium income for men being $67,400, and for women, $54,800.  Their average income percentile was 71st.  As found for colleges in general, the average income at age 34 did not depend whether you were a poor income student at UCI, rising to 71st percentile, and for a rich income student, rising to 72nd percentile.  College pays off.  50% of our graduates were married at age 34 in 2014.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in California University Rankings, Education, Equality of Opportunity Project, Income, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Upward Mobility. Bookmark the permalink.

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