Why Social Mobility is important?


Social Mobility is a measure of to what extents someone’s parents’ income/education/status will dictate how much someone can achieve  (income/education/status)  in their adulthood.

Social Mobility = Parent’s income / Their Child’s adult income

For example, when you were young, your dad earned $20,000 per year in his 40 years of age, which is in today’s terms, say $40,000.

You are an adult today and in same country you are earning $80,000 at same age.

So, your social mobility score is = 40000/80000 = 0.5

If the score approaches towards 0, it indicates higher social mobility. On the opposite scale, if it becomes 1 or more than that, it indicates lower social mobility.

All countries should aim for higher social mobility because it signifies that even if you were born in a poor/disadvantaged family, one should still be able to rise at the top. So, technically speaking, if you live in a country with higher social mobility scores, you are more likely to become CEO of a big company even if your parents pushed trolleys in supermarkets in their whole life.

When a child is born to a rich parents, s/he is more likely to get better care, better education etc. This often leads to successful life at adult stage. Social Mobility measures the extent of cumulative advantage.

So, to sum up,

poor parents, rich kids = higher social mobility
poor parents, poor kids = lower social mobility
rich parents, rich kids = lower social mobility
rich parents, poor kids = bad social mobility (shows that situation worsened over time)

Although how much one can rise in life often depends on individual’s capability, government rules can also influence the outcome. For example, if studying in law school requires expensive upfront fee payment, then only rich people’s kids can afford that – which will lead to lower social mobility score. However, if government can ensure fees are less so that any meritorious student can get admission, then  kids from poor family can study and earn good money, which indicates higher social mobility score.

Some example scores:

Denmark    0.15
Austria    0.165
Norway    0.17
Finland    0.182
Canada    0.191
Sweden    0.274
Germany    0.32
Spain    0.32
France    0.41
USA    0.47
Italy    0.48
UK    0.5

This indicates Denmark has a much higher social mobility than United Kingdom.

 

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