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Climbing the Social Ladder Strongly Influenced by Grandparents’ Class

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Climbing the social ladder is strongly influenced by your grandparents’ class

…the position of grandparents in the British class system has a direct effect on which class their grandchildren belong to.…even when the influence of parents has been taken into account, the odds of grandchildren going into professional or managerial occupations rather than unskilled manual occupations are at least two and a half times better if their grandparents were themselves in professional-managerial positions rather than unskilled manual occupations.

….social advantages and disadvantages that are transmitted across generations are a lot more durable and persistent than previously thought. It establishes a statistically significant association between grandparents’ and grandchildren’s class positions, even after the parents’ education, income, and wealth (such as whether they are home-owners) are taken into account.

….For women, this “grandparents effect” was less strong at 66% and 51% respectively.

Where grandparents were from a high social class and the parents experienced downward social mobility, the “grandparents effect” appeared stronger, pushing the grandchild back up the social ladder. The study says in such cases there was “a higher level of counter mobility” as though grandparents’ class background is correcting the “mobility mistake” made by the parents.

“The ‘grandparents effect’ in social mobility is found to operate throughout society and is not restricted to the top or bottom of the social class structure in Britain….reveals that grandparents have a substantial effect on where their grandchildren end up in the British class system.”

Researcher Dr. Vikki Boliver, from the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, said: “Numerous studies have demonstrated that social origins strongly predict social destinations, but almost all social mobility studies to date have only examined two generations, parents and children. Although a handful of studies have looked at social mobility patterns of three generations, this is the first time that researchers have found that an individual’s fortunes may depend on the attributes and experiences of more distant ancestors such as grandparents.”

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Written by Rich and Co.

July 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm

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