Mobility rate is the ability of a university to help students from low-income families earn a higher income. We gathered data from the Equality Of Opportunity Project’s dataset to compare the mobility rate of Emory University to that of other elite institutions. We compared the difference between the median annual income of Emory alumni who graduated in 1980 and 1981 and their parents’ median income, and then compared those differences to the differences between alumni and parent income at other elite institutions. A greater increase of alumni income over parent income reflects a higher mobility rate. Emory parents had greater median annual income, alumni median annual income, and a greater gap between the two incomes than the average for elite institutions.
The New York Times claimed that Emory had the second highest mobility rate for elite institutions, but our data indicated that this conclusion was misleading The difference between Emory’s alumni’s income their parents’ median income for the 1980 and 1981 cohorts was $-94,700 and -$109,300, respectively. The average of the differences between alumni and parent median income for all elite institutions was -$81,783 and -$88,215 respectively. The differences for the 1980 cohort ranged from -$22,100 to -$165,700 with a standard deviation of approximately $29,178. The differences for the 1981 cohort ranged from -$26,100 to -$170,200 with a standard deviation of approximately $29,712.
Based on this information, we believe that the mobility rate of elite institutions was generally poor based on the Equality of Opportunity Project’s Data. All schools had a higher parent median income than student median income and no schools had a smaller parent median annual income than $97,700, which would put them in the 87th percentile for average household income in the United States. This means that more than half of students at elite institutions come from families with incomes in the 87th percentile in the United States or higher.