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Social Mobility

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  • October 8, 1999
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Mobility is the characteristic of every social system.

Social mobility is the

movement of individuals, families and groups from one

social position to

another. It may be studied in terms of redistribution

of resources and power

among the different social strata and its effect on

the people involved. In the

status societies the social status of the person is

determined from his work.

Social mobility occurs whenever people move across

social class boundaries, from

one ⌠occupational level to another. The study of

Social Mobility is important

for a number of reasons: -

1. It matters to people to get on in life,

2. We can study people's life histories,

3. We can see changes in the class system,

4. The more mobile a society is may show it to be more

open and fairer,

5. Mobility affects the way classes are formed, their

size and shape.

A common sense notion regarding class in the U.S can

be represented as a few

rich people on the top, few poor people at the bottom,

and the middle class

majority in the center. Mostly everybody has a

comfortable standard of living.

If we divide the U.S. population in 5 equal

proportions and their corresponding

share of the nation¡¯s income we get the following:

¨iTop 20% of the population receives 49.1% of

the total income

¨iSecond top 20% of the population receives

24.3% of the total income

¨iMiddle 20% of the population receives 15% of

the total income

¨iSecond bottom 20% of the population receives

8.9% of the total income

¨iBottom 20% of the population receives 3.6% of

the total income

The top 20% of the population have a disproportionate

share of the income

compared to their share in the population. Looking at

the standards of living by

consumption the ration between the top 20% and the

bottom 20% is 9:1. This

comparison illustrates great inequality in US society.

It is often...