How does social mobility occur?


Social mobility occurs through various processes and has intriguing patterns and challenges across time. Here are some key insights as discussed by experts:

  1. Regression to the Mean: According to , social mobility, especially from extreme positions like the upper or lower classes, generally involves a "regression to the mean" over generations. This indicates that families in highly privileged or underprivileged positions tend to move towards average socio-economic status over time, taking about 300 years for the cycle to often complete 1.

  2. Random Effects and Individual Differences: While large scale patterns, like the aforementioned regression, are observable, individual outcomes remain largely unpredictable due to myriad factors, including randomness. This suggests that while trends can be noted, individual trajectories can differ significantly 1.

  3. Impact of Immigration and Myths: The role of immigration in social mobility is significant, with myths often enhancing perceptions of the past. Historical data is crucial to assess these myths accurately and understand the real impact of immigration on social mobility. and point out that without detailed, historical data linking past and present socio-economic statuses, we might overstate or misunderstand the true mobility figures 2.

  4. Location and Economic Background: discusses how geographical and economic factors, such as being in agricultural settings versus urban settings, can significantly impact social mobility. This points to the influence of broader economic and historical contexts on mobility chances 3.

    Social Mobility Insights

    Discover the astonishing truth about social mobility and the universal tendency for the upper class to regress over time. Gregory Clark shares his insights on the genealogy of social status and the surprising prospects for upward mobility for those in the bottom 10%. Explore the physics of social mobility and the unpredictable nature of individual outcomes.

    Modern Wisdom

    Is Social Status Determined By Your Genetics? - Gregory Clark

These discussions reveal that while social mobility is influenced by a complex interplay of socio-economic factors, historical contexts, and individual variability, it also follows certain long-term trends and is influenced by geographical and demographic factors.