NEWMAN: I broke the findings or the patterns into three groups [of roughly equal size]. There was a group we just finished talking about. I call them the "high flyers"--the people who did very well--and did better than they expected or I would've ever expected.Newman was focusing only on those who were counted as part of the workforce (ie, those who are either employed or trying to become employed). Roberts goes on to observe that the success of that upper third demonstrates that the assertion that urban underclass culture is virtually impossible to escape from is false--a significant number to attain some upperward mobility. Newman agrees with this but neither she nor Roberts takes a stab at definitively explaining why some make it, some exist on the cusp, and some remain steadily on the bottom. Newman ends up recommending more financial aid to allow low-wage earners to pursue higher education as a way of increasing the percentage of those who pull themselves out of impoverished urban environment.
ROBERTS: Some making $50,000-$70,000 a year because they got that certificate or they switched jobs.
NEWMAN: They got that job with FedEx, etc ... Then you have this middle group that I would describe as people who had made headway, who were ahead of inflation, but not by much. They weren't really very secure, but they were better off. They had better jobs. They moved into retail from fast food for example, so they had jobs that were less dirty and despised.
ROBERTS: A little bit more prestigious.
NEWMAN: Yeah, a little bit more prestigious. ... Their wages didn't shift that much. They didn't fall behind, but they didn't shift up much. They didn't fall behind, and they moved up a little in prestige, but they weren't earning a lot more and they certainly weren't going to be able to, by themselves, make a huge difference in their standard of living.
And then there was a group at the bottom, that really was in trouble. They really were skidding along the bottom, in and out of the labor force.
I am not asserting that IQ alone explains why those included in the study of several years duration ended up where they did, or even that it is the most important variable to consider. But in studies like these, some variant of an IQ test, like the wonderlic, initially administered to those monitored, would be of enormous value. When it is lacking, it's hard to draw much of anything meaningful from the subsequent discussions, and the resulting "policy solutions" pursued to ameliorate things are hopelessly incomplete. (I am hardly making a novel observation, I know).