Who Makes It to Middle Class? The Advantaged Two in three Americans get there, but it's a lot more likely if you're born in it By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Suggested by WarmWeatherGuy Posted Sep 21, 2012 2:48 PM CDT Updated Sep 21, 2012 3:00 PM CDT 45 comments Comments If you grew up in a house like this, odds are pretty good you could someday own one, too. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Roughly two out of every three Americans wind up in the middle class or higher by the time they turn 40, but it's a lot more likely to happen if you're born into wealthy family to begin with, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution. Children born to rich families had a 75% chance of winding up in middle class, here defined as having an income in the top three quintiles. Those born to poor families had only a 40% chance, the New York Times reports. Race played a huge factor as well. The study set up benchmarks of success for each stage in life. For teens, for example, they were graduating high school with at least a 2.5 gpa, not having a criminal record, and not having children. Only two in five black teens hit all those marks, compared to two-thirds of whites. The study also emphasized the value of early success—hitting one benchmark made you much more likely to hit the next.