Alison Morgan and colleagues have a paper titled "Socioeconomic Roots of Academic Faculty."
To summarize, nearly a quarter (22.2%) of faculty reported that one of their parents holds a PhD, and over half (51.8%) had a parent who holds a graduate degree (Table I). Faculty who have parents with PhDs report receiving more support from them for their careers (Fig. 3) and are more likely to be employed at elite institutions. Nearly a third of faculty at top ranked universities report their parent holds a PhD (29.5%), versus a fifth (19.2%) at the bottom. In the context of broader racial inequality in wealth and educational attainment with the U.S., academia's dependence on inherited advantages, i.e., the importance of parental characteristics on a professor's current employment and placement, represents a fundamental limit to its racial diversity (Fig. 6).
2/ First, we asked faculty about their parents' level of education when they were kids.— Aaron Clauset (@aaronclauset) March 25, 2021
Half of faculty reported a parent having a grad degree, and nearly a quarter had a parent with a PhD. That’s 25x the rate of U.S. adults. 😮 pic.twitter.com/DCQU2opCnX