social mobility

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social mobility
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{{Use American English|date = March 2019}}{{Short description|Mobility to move social classes}}{{Use mdy dates|date = March 2019}}{{redirect|Upwardly mobile|the Irish television series|Upwardly Mobile}}(File:Social mobility is lower in more unequal countries.jpg|thumb)Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society.


Social mobility is defined as the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between layers or tiers in an open system of social stratification. Open stratification systems are those in which at least some value is given to achieved status characteristics in a society. The movement can be in a downward or upward direction.Heckman, J.J. and Mosso, S., 2014. The economics of human development and social mobility. Annu. Rev. Econ., 6(1), pp.689-733. " Social mobility is any change in social position."


Mobility is most often quantitatively measured in terms of change in economic mobility such as changes in income or wealth. Occupation is another measure used in researching mobility, which usually involves both quantitative and qualitative analysis of data, but other studies may concentrate on social class.CONFERENCE,weblink A National Protocol for Measuring Intergenerational Mobility, National Academy of Science, 15 July 2014, Grusky, David B., David Grusky, Erin Cumberworth, yes, Workshop on Advancing Social Science Theory: The Importance of Common Metrics, February 2010, Washington, D.C., Mobility may be intragenerational, within the same generation, or intergenerational, between different generations.JOURNAL, 10.2307/2576520, Intragenerational versus Intergenerational Mobility in Relation to Sociopolitical Attitudes, Lopreato, Joseph, Joseph Lopreato, Hazelrigg, Lawrence E., yes, Social Forces, 49, 2, December 1970, 200–210, 2576520, Intragenerational mobility is less frequent, representing "rags to riches" cases in terms of upward mobility. Intergenerational upward mobility is more common, where children or grandchildren are in economic circumstances better than those of their parents or grandparents. In the US, this type of mobility is described as one of the fundamental features of the "American Dream" even though there is less such mobility than almost all other OECD countries.WEB,weblink Intergenerational Social Mobility Economics Department Working Papers No. 707, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, July 2009, Orsetta Causa, Åsa Johansson,

Social status and social class

File:Going up or down advertisement.jpg|thumb|upright=1.7|Illustration from a 1916 advertisement for a vocational school in the back of a US magazine. Education has been seen as a key to social mobility, and the advertisement appealed to Americans' belief in the possibility of self-betterment as well as threatening the consequences of downward mobility in the great income inequality existing during the Industrial RevolutionIndustrial RevolutionSocial mobility is highly dependent on the overall structure of social statuses and occupations in a given society.JOURNAL, 2095555, Comparative Social Mobility Revisited: Models of Convergence and Divergence in 16 Countries, Grusky, David B, Robert M. Hauser, yes, American Sociological Review, February 1984, 49, 1, 19–38, 10.2307/2095555, The extent of differing social positions and the manner in which they fit together or overlap provides the overall social structure of such positions. Add to this the differing dimensions of status, such as Max Weber's delineationBOOK, Weber, Max, 1946, Class, Status, Party, 180–95, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, H. H. Girth and C. Wright Mills, New York, Oxford University, of economic stature, prestige, and power and we see the potential for complexity in a given social stratification system. Such dimensions within a given society can be seen as independent variables that can explain differences in social mobility at different times and places in different stratification systems. In addition, the same variables that contribute as intervening variables to the valuation of income or wealth and that also affect social status, social class, and social inequality do affect social mobility. These include sex or gender, race or ethnicity, and age.BOOK, Toward a new vision: race, class and gender as categories of analysis and connection, Social Class and Stratification: Classic Statements and Theoretical Debates, Rowman & Littlefield, Collins, Patricia Hill, 1998, Boston, 231–247, 978-0-8476-8542-4, Education provides one of the most promising chances of upward social mobility into a better social class and attaining a higher social status, regardless of current social standing in the overall structure of society. However, the stratification of social classes and high wealth inequality directly affects the educational opportunities people are able to obtain and succeed in, and the chance for one's upward social mobility. In other words, social class and a family's socioeconomic status directly affect a child's chances for obtaining a quality education and succeeding in life. By age five, there are significant developmental differences between low, middle, and upper class children's cognitive and noncognitive skills.WEB,weblink Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education, Greenstone, M, Looney, A, November 18, 2016, Brookings Institution, April 5, 2017, Patashnik, J, Yu, M, Among older children, evidence suggests that the gap between high- and low-income primary- and secondary-school students has increased by almost 40 percent over the past thirty years. These differences persist and widen into young adulthood and beyond. Just as the gap in K–12 test scores between high- and low-income students is growing, the difference in college graduation rates between the rich and the poor is also growing. Although the college graduation rate among the poorest households increased by about 4 percentage points between those born in the early 1960s and those born in the early 1980s, over this same period, the graduation rate increased by almost 20 percentage points for the wealthiest households.Average family income, and social status, have both seen a decrease for the bottom third of all children between 1975-2011. The 5th percentile of children and their families have seen up to a 60% decrease in average family income. The wealth gap between the rich and the poor, the upper and lower class, continues to increase as more middle-class people get poorer and the lower-class get even poorer. As the socioeconomic inequality continues to increase in the United States, being on either end of the spectrum makes a child more likely to remain there, and never become socially mobile.A child born to parents with income in the lowest quintile is more than ten times more likely to end up in the lowest quintile than the highest as an adult (43 percent versus 4 percent). And, a child born to parents in the highest quintile is five times more likely to end up in the highest quintile than the lowest (40 percent versus 8 percent).This is due to lower- and working-class parents (where neither is educated above high school diploma level) spending less time on average with their children in their earliest years of life and not being as involved in their children's education and time out of school. This parenting style, known as "accomplishment of natural growth" differs from the style of middle-class and upper-class parents (with at least one parent having higher education), known as "cultural cultivation".BOOK, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Lareau, Annette, University of California Press, 2011, More affluent social classes are able to spend more time with their children at early ages, and children receive more exposure to interactions and activities that lead to cognitive and non-cognitive development: things like verbal communication, parent-child engagement, and being read to daily. These children's parents are much more involved in their academics and their free time; placing them in extracurricular activities which develop not only additional non-cognitive skills but also academic values, habits, and abilities to better communicate and interact with authority figures. Lower class children often attend lower quality schools, receive less attention from teachers, and ask for help much less than their higher class peers.JOURNAL, Haveman, Robert, Smeeding, Timothy, 2006-01-01, The Role of Higher Education in Social Mobility, The Future of Children, 16, 2, 125–150, 3844794, 10.1353/foc.2006.0015, The chances for social mobility are primarily determined by the family a child is born into. Today, the gaps seen in both access to education and educational success (graduating from a higher institution) is even larger. Today, while college applicants from every socioeconomic class are equally qualified, 75% of all entering freshmen classes at top-tier American institutions belong to the uppermost socioeconomic quartile. A family's class determines the amount of investment and involvement parents have in their children's educational abilities and success from their earliest years of life, leaving low-income students with less chance for academic success and social mobility due to the effects that the (common) parenting style of the lower and working-class have on their outlook on and success in education.

Class cultures and social networks

These differing dimensions of social mobility can be classified in terms of differing types of capital that contribute to changes in mobility. Cultural capital, a term first coined by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu distinguishes between the economic and cultural aspects of class. Bourdieu described three types of capital that place a person in a certain social category: economic capital; social capital; and cultural capital. Economic capital includes economic resources such as cash, credit, and other material assets.Social capital includes resources one achieves based on group membership, networks of influence, relationships and support from other people. Cultural capital is any advantage a person has that gives them a higher status in society, such as education, skills, or any other form of knowledge. Usually, people with all three types of capital have a high status in society. Bourdieu found that the culture of the upper social class is oriented more toward formal reasoning and abstract thought. The lower social class is geared more towards matters of facts and the necessities of life. He also found that the environment in which person develops has a large effect on the cultural resources that a person will have.BOOK, Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste,weblink 15 February 2013, 1984, Routledge, London, 978-0415567886, The cultural resources a person has obtained can heavily influence a child's educational success. It has been shown that students raised under the concerted cultivation approach have "an emerging sense of entitlement" which leads to asking teachers more questions and being a more active student, causing teachers to favor students raised in this manner.BOOK, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, University of California Press, Lareau, Annette, This childrearing approach which creates positive interactions in the classroom environment is in contrast with the natural growth approach to childrearing. In this approach, which is more common amongst working-class families, parents do not focus on developing the special talents of their individual children, and they speak to their children in directives. Due to this, it is more rare for a child raised in this manner to question or challenge adults and conflict arises between childrearing practices at home and school. Children raised in this manner are less inclined to participate in the classroom setting and are less likely to go out of their way to positively interact with teachers and form relationships.In the United States, links between minority underperformance in schools have been made with a lacking in the cultural resources of cultural capital, social capital, and economic capital, yet inconsistencies persist even when these variables are accounted for. "Once admitted to institutions of higher education, African Americans and Latinos continued to underperform relative to their white and Asian counterparts, earning lower grades, progressing at a slower rate, and dropping out at higher rates. More disturbing was the fact that these differentials persisted even after controlling for obvious factors such as SAT scores and family socioeconomic status".BOOK, The Shape of the River : Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, Bok, Derek, Derek Bok, Princeton University Press, Bowen, William,weblink 9781400882793, 2016-04-20, The theory of capital deficiency is among the most recognized explanations for minority underperformance academically—that for whatever reason they simply lack the resources to find academic success.BOOK, The Source of the River: The Social Origins of Freshmen at America's Selective Colleges and Universities, Charles, Camille, Lundy, Garvey, Fischer, Mary, Princeton University Press, Massey, Douglas,weblink 978-1400840762, 2011-06-27, One of the largest factors for this, asides from the social, economic, and cultural capital mentioned earlier, is human capital. This form of capital, identified by social scientists only in recent years, has to do with the education and life preparation of children. "Human capital refers to the skills, abilities, and knowledge possessed by specific individuals".BOOK, Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Becker, Gary, 1964, New York, Columbia University Press, This allows college-educated parents who have large amounts of human capital to invest in their children in certain ways to maximize future success—from reading to them at night to possessing a better understanding of the school system which causes them to be less differential to teachers and school authorities. Research also shows that well-educated black parents are less able to transmit human capital to their children when compared to their white counterparts, due to a legacy of racism and discrimination.

Patterns of mobility

While it is generally accepted that some level of mobility in society is desirable, there is no consensus agreement upon "how much" social mobility is "good" or "bad" for a society. There is no international "benchmark" of social mobility, though one can compare measures of mobility across regions or countries or within a given area over time.JOURNAL, Intergenerational Social Mobility in OECD Countries, Causa, Orsetta, Åsa Johansson, yes, Economic Studies, 2011, 2010, 1, 1, 10.1787/eco_studies-2010-5km33scz5rjj, While cross-cultural studies comparing differing types of economies are possible, comparing economies of similar type usually yields more comparable data. Such comparisons typically look at intergenerational mobility, examining the extent to which children born into different families have different life chances and outcomes.File:The Great Gatsby Curve.png|thumb|350px|crop top=10px|The Great Gatsby CurveGreat Gatsby CurveIn a study for which the results were first published in 2009, (The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better|Wilkinson and Pickett) conduct an exhaustive analysis of social mobility in developed countries.BOOK, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, Bloomsbury Press, Wilkinson, Richard, Kate Pickett, yes, 2009, 978-1608190362, In addition to other correlations with negative social outcomes for societies having high inequality, they found a relationship between high social inequality and low social mobility. Of the eight countries studied—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the UK and the US, the US had both the highest economic inequality and lowest economic mobility. In this and other studies, in fact, the USA has very low mobility at the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder, with mobility increasing slightly as one goes up the ladder. At the top rung of the ladder, however, mobility again decreases.BOOK,weblink International Comparisons of Economic Mobility, Brookings Institution, Isaacs, Julia B., 2008, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 21 July 2014, dmy-all, One study comparing social mobility between developed countriesCAP: Understanding Mobility in America - April 26, 2006BOOK, Corak, Miles, 2006, Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility, John, Creedy, Guyonne, Kalb, Dynamics of Inequality and Poverty, Research on Economic Inequality, 13, 143–188, Emerald, 978-0-76231-350-1,weblink WEB,weblink Financial Security and Mobility - Pew Trusts, found that the four countries with the lowest "intergenerational income elasticity", i.e. the highest social mobility, were Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Canada with less than 20% of advantages of having a high income parent passed on to their children.(File:Intergenerational mobility graph-1.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Comparison of social mobility in selected countries)Studies have also found "a clear negative relationship" between income inequality and intergenerational mobility.The Great Gatsby Curve Paul Krugman| 15 January 2012 Countries with low levels of inequality such as Denmark, Norway and Finland had some of the greatest mobility, while the two countries with the high level of inequality—Chile and Brazil—had some of the lowest mobility.In Britain, much debate on social mobility has been generated by comparisons of the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1970 Birth Cohort Study BCS70,BOOK, Blanden, J., S., Machin, A., Goodman, P., Gregg, 2004, Changes in intergenerational mobility in Britain, M., Corak, Generational Income Mobility in North America and Europe, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-82760-7, which compare intergenerational mobility in earnings between the 1958 and the 1970 UK cohorts, and claim that intergenerational mobility decreased substantially in this 12-year period. These findings have been controversial, partly due to conflicting findings on social class mobility using the same datasets,JOURNAL, Goldthorpe, John, John Goldthorpe, Jackson, M., 2007, Intergenerational class mobility in contemporary Britain: political concerns and empirical findings, British Journal of Sociology, 58, 4, 525–546, 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00165.x, 18076385, and partly due to questions regarding the analytical sample and the treatment of missing data.JOURNAL, Gorard, Stephen, Stephen Gorard, 2008, A reconsideration of rates of 'social mobility' in Britain: or why research impact is not always a good thing, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29, 3, 317–324, 10.1080/01425690801966402, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has famously said that trends in social mobility "are not as we would have liked".NEWS,weblink London, The Guardian, Is social mobility dead?, Tom, Clark, 10 March 2010, Along with the aforementioned "Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults?" study, The Economist also stated that "evidence from social scientists suggests that American society is much 'stickier' than most Americans assume. Some researchers claim that social mobility is actually declining."NEWS,weblink Ever higher society, ever harder to ascend, The Economist, December 29, 2004, 2013-02-15, JOURNAL, Mitnik, Pablo, Cumberworth, Erin, Grusky, David, Social Mobility in a High Inequality Regime, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 66, 1, 140–183, 2016,weblink A German study corroborates these results.JOURNAL, Jäntti, Markus, Brent, Bratsberg, Knut, Roed, Oddbjörn, Rauum, 2006, American Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States, IZA Discussion Paper No. 1938, Bonn, Institute for the Study of Labor, etal, In spite of this low mobility Americans have had the highest belief in meritocracy among middle- and high-income countries.WEB,weblink Reaching for the Prize: The Limits On Economic Mobility, Isaacs, Julia, Sawhill, Isabel, 2008, The Brookings Institution, 15 February 2013, A study of social mobility among the French corporate class has found that class continues to influence who reaches the top in France, with those from the upper-middle classes tending to dominate, despite a longstanding emphasis on meritocracy.JOURNAL, Maclean, Mairi, Harvey, Charles, Kling, Gerhard, 2014-06-01, Pathways to Power: Class, Hyper-Agency and the French Corporate Elite, Organization Studies, en, 35, 6, 825–855, 10.1177/0170840613509919, 0170-8406, Thomas Piketty (2014) finds that wealth-income ratios, today, seem to be returning to very high levels in low economic growth countries, similar to what he calls the "classic patrimonial" wealth-based societies of the 19th century wherein a minority lives off its wealth while the rest of the population works for subsistence living.BOOK, Capital in the 21st century, Belknap Press, Piketty, Thomas, 2014, 978-0674430006, Social mobility can also be influenced by differences that exist within education. The contribution of education to social mobility often gets neglected in social mobility research although it really has the potential to transform the relationship between origins and destinations.JOURNAL, Education and social mobility, 2013, 34, 5–6, 637–643, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 10.1080/01425692.2013.826414, Phillip Brown, Diane Reay, Carol Vincent, Recognizing the disparities between strictly location and its educational opportunities highlights how patterns of educational mobility are influencing the capacity for individuals to experience social mobility. There is some debate regarding how important educational attainment is for social mobility. A substantial literature argues that there is a direct effect of social origins (DESO) which cannot be explained by educational attainment.BOOK, Education, occupation and social origin : a comparative analysis of the transmission, Bernardi, Fabrizio,, Ballarino, Gabriele, 9781785360442, Cheltenham, UK, 947837575, However, other evidence suggests that, using a sufficiently fine-grained measure of educational attainment, taking on board such factors as university status and field of study, education fully mediates the link between social origins and access to top class jobs.JOURNAL, Sullivan, Alice, Parsons, Samantha, Green, Francis, Wiggins, Richard D., Ploubidis, George, The path from social origins to top jobs: social reproduction via education, The British Journal of Sociology, 69, 3, en, 776–798, 10.1111/1468-4446.12314, 28972272, 1468-4446, 2017, The patterns of educational mobility that exist between inner city schools versus schools in the suburbs is transparent. Graduation rates supply a rich context to these patterns. In the 2013–14 school year, Detroit Public Schools observed a graduation rate of 71% whereas Grosse Pointe High School (Detroit suburb) observed an average graduation rate of 94%.WEB,weblink DPS Graduation rates are up 6.5 percentage points over last year and 11 percentage points since 2010-11, March 6, 2015, A similar phenomena was observed in Los Angeles, California as well as in New York City. Los Angeles Senior High School (inner city) observed a graduation rate of 58% and San Marino High School (suburb) observed a graduation rate of 96%.WEB,weblink Overall Niche Grade, New York City Geographic District Number Two (inner city) observed a graduation rate of 69% and Westchester School District (suburb) observed a graduation rate of 85%.WEB,weblink WESTCHESTER COUNTY GRADUATION RATE DATA 4 YEAR OUTCOME AS OF JUNE, These patterns were observed across the country when assessing the differences between inner city graduation rates and suburban graduation rates.

Influence of intelligence and education

Social status attainment and therefore social mobility in adulthood are of interest to psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, epidemiologists and many more. The reason behind the interest is because it indicates access to material goods, educational opportunities, healthy environments, and nonetheless the economic growth.Deary, I. J., Taylor, M. D., Hart, C. L., Wilson, V., Smith, G. D., Blane, D., & Starr, J. M. (2005). Intergenerational social mobility and mid-life status attainment: Influences of childhood intelligence, childhood social factors, and education. Intelligence, 455–472.Deary, I. J., Whiteman, M. C., Starr, J. M., Whalley, L. J., & Fox, H. C. (2004). The Impact of Childhood Intelligence on Later Life: Following Up the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 130–147.Johnson, W., Brett, C. E., & Deary, I. J. (2010a). The pivotal role of education in the association between ability and social class attainment: A look across three generations. Intelligence, 55-65.Johnson, W., Brett, C. E., & Deary, I. J. (2010b). Intergenerational class mobility in Britain: A comparative look across three generations in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Intelligence, 268–281.Breen, R., & Goldthorpe, J. H. (2001). Class, mobility and merit: The experience of two British birth cohorts. European Sociological Review, 17, 81–101.von Stumm, S., Gale, C. R., Batty, G. D., & Deary, I. J. (2009). Childhood intelligence, locus of control and behaviour disturbance as determinants of intergenerational social mobility: British Cohort Study 1970. Intelligence, 37(4), 329-340.Researchers did a study that encompassed a wide range of data of individuals in lifetime (in childhood and during mid-adulthood). Most of the Scottish children which were born in 1921 participated in the Scottish Mental Survey 1932, which was conducted under the auspices of the Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE)Scottish Council for Research in Education (1933). The intelligence of Scottish children: A national survey of an age-group.London, UK7 University of London Press. and obtained the data of psychometric intelligence of Scottish pupils. The number of children who took the mental ability test (based on the Moray House tests) was 87,498. They were between age 10 and 11. The tests covered general, spatial and numerical reasoning.At mid-life period, a subset of the subjects participated in one of the studies, which were large health studies of adults and were carried out in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s. The particular study they took part in was the collaborative study of 6022 men and 1006 women, conducted between 1970 and 1973 in Scotland. Participants completed a questionnaire (participant's address, father's occupation, the participant's own first regular occupation, the age of finishing full-time education, number of siblings, and if the participant was a regular car driver) and attended a physical examination (measurement of height). Social class was coded according to the Registrar General's Classification for the participant's occupation at the time of screening, his first occupation and his father's occupation. Researchers separated into six social classes were used.General Register Office (1966). Classification of occupations 1966. London, UK7 HMSO.A correlation and structural equation model analysis was conducted. In the structural equation models, social status in the 1970s was the main outcome variable. The main contributors to education (and first social class) were father's social class and IQ at age 11, which was also found in a Scandinavian study.Sorjonen, K., Hemmingsson, T., Lundin, A., & Melin, B. (2011). How social position of origin relates to intelligence and level of education when adjusting for attained social position. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 277–281. This effect was direct and also mediated via education and the participant's first job.Participants at midlife did not necessarily end up in the same social class as their fathers. There was social mobility in the sample: 45% of men were upwardly mobile, 14% were downward mobile and 41% were socially stable. IQ at age 11 had a graded relationship with participant's social class. The same effect was seen for father's occupation. Men at midlife social class I and II (the highest, more professional) also had the highest IQ at age 11. Height at midlife, years of education and childhood IQ were significantly positively related to upward social mobility, while number of siblings had no significant effect. For each standard deviation increase in IQ score at the age 11, the chances of upward social mobility increases by 69% (with a 95% confidence). After controlling the effect of independent variables, only IQ at age 11 was significantly inversely related to downward movement in social mobility. More years of education increase the chance that a father's son will surpass his social class, whereas low IQ makes a father's son prone to falling behind his father's social class.File:Deary model02.png|thumbnail|right|Structural equation model of the direct and indirect influence of childhood position and IQ upon social status attainment at mid-life.All parameters significant (p

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