UPWARD MOBILITY

Upward Mobility: A Review of Its Definition and Correlates

Abstract

This review provides an overview of the concept of upward mobility and its key correlates, including income, socioeconomic status, education, and occupational attainment. First, we define upward mobility and discuss the primary factors associated with it. Then, we review existing research on the topic and discuss the implications of this research for social policy. Finally, we identify potential areas for future research and discuss the importance of understanding the complexities of upward mobility.

Keywords: Upward Mobility, Income, Socioeconomic Status, Education, Occupational Attainment

Introduction

Upward mobility is often seen as a desirable goal for individuals in society, and it has been the focus of considerable research in recent years. Upward mobility is defined as the process of improving one’s socio-economic status or position in life by moving from a lower level to a higher one. It can be measured in terms of income, educational attainment, occupational status, and other social indicators. This review provides an overview of the concept of upward mobility and its key correlates, including income, socioeconomic status, education, and occupational attainment. We first define upward mobility and discuss the primary factors associated with it. Then, we review existing research on the topic and discuss the implications of this research for social policy. Finally, we identify potential areas for future research and discuss the importance of understanding the complexities of upward mobility.

Definition and Correlates

The concept of upward mobility has been defined in various ways, but generally refers to the process of improving one’s socio-economic status or position in life by moving from a lower level to a higher one (Hauser & Sewell, 1996; Tach & Tienda, 2017). This process can be measured using various indicators, including income, educational attainment, and occupational status.

Income is typically used to measure upward mobility, as it reflects an individual’s access to economic resources. Higher incomes generally indicate higher levels of upward mobility, while lower incomes usually indicate a lack of upward mobility (Hauser & Sewell, 1996).

Socioeconomic status is a measure of an individual’s or family’s social standing in society, and is often used to evaluate upward mobility. This measure includes factors such as educational attainment, occupation, and income (Hauser & Sewell, 1996). Higher levels of education and higher-status occupations are generally associated with higher levels of upward mobility.

Education is an important factor in determining upward mobility. Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with higher incomes and higher-status occupations (Hauser & Sewell, 1996). Individuals with higher levels of educational attainment typically experience higher levels of upward mobility.

Occupational attainment is another indicator of upward mobility. Higher-status occupations typically pay higher salaries and provide more job security and opportunities for advancement (Hauser & Sewell, 1996).

Research on Upward Mobility

A number of studies have examined the relationship between upward mobility and various factors. For example, a study by Hauser and Sewell (1996) found that higher levels of education, higher incomes, and higher-status occupations were associated with higher levels of upward mobility. Additionally, a study by Tach and Tienda (2017) found that income and educational attainment were the primary factors associated with upward mobility.

The research on upward mobility has implications for social policy. For example, policies that increase access to education and job training programs may help to create more opportunities for upward mobility. Additionally, policies that focus on reducing income inequality may help to create a more equitable society in which individuals have greater access to economic resources and social status.

Conclusion

This review provides an overview of the concept of upward mobility and its key correlates, including income, socioeconomic status, education, and occupational attainment. We first define upward mobility and discuss the primary factors associated with it. Then, we review existing research on the topic and discuss the implications of this research for social policy. Finally, we identify potential areas for future research and discuss the importance of understanding the complexities of upward mobility.

References

Hauser, R. M., & Sewell, W. H. (1996). Upward mobility in a changing economy. American Sociological Review, 61(5), 823–844. https://doi.org/10.2307/2096361

Tach, L., & Tienda, M. (2017). Upward mobility in the United States: Trends and correlates. Annual Review of Sociology, 43(1), 141–162. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-060116-053430

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