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Social Mobility in America - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Social Mobility in America Social mobility refers to the movement in social position of groups or individuals, and it normally refers to families or persons and their income changes. Vertical social mobility is the movement of groups or persons down or up socio-economic levels, which can happen through changes in employment opportunities and marriage (MacMurrer & Sawhill 11)…
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Social Mobility in America
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"Social Mobility in America"

Download file to see previous pages This paper seeks to discuss the barriers that have led to a decline in social mobility, the impact of being born wealthy in the US, and what can be done to improve social mobility. One of the biggest causes of social immobility is the effect of inheritance, which refers to the effects that initial social placement during birth have on an individual’s chances of mobility in the future (MacMurrer & Sawhill 23). Individuals who are born to wealthy parents possess a head start since they are already in a higher social class with the resources to move up should they wish. Those with no wealth inheritance need to overcome a significant deficit in order to move upwards socially. Another significant factor in social mobility is education, which has an impact on where Americans will end up socially. Those who have access to quality education end up with more income and wealth, while those who either do not get an education or get poor quality education will rarely move up in the society. In addition, educational opportunity’s distribution in the US is unequal with upper class individuals managing to provide their children with high quality education, while lower class citizens can only afford poor quality education with high levels of dropouts coupled with low chances of higher education (MacMurrer & Sawhill 23). Therefore, low availability of quality education to all has a significant impact on the social mobility of Americans. Since education quality varies according to one’s geographical location, race, and economic resources, this hinders children of poor backgrounds from being socially mobile (MacMurrer & Sawhill 24). In addition, the ability for Americans to access opportunities at self-employment plays a role in social mobility. With the decline in self-employment opportunities, Americans are forced to look for employment and work for other people, which decrease their chances of social mobility significantly. Finally, discrimination plays a critical role as a barrier to social mobility in the US. Discrimination based on sex and race destabilizes the level playing field onto which all Americans are born, leading to some groups having fewer chances at social mobility (MacMurrer & Sawhill 25). Being born into a wealthy family enhances one’s chances in getting a sizeable inheritance, which, in turn, makes it possible that they will die wealthy. The reverse is true for those born into poor families. Being born into a wealthy family enhances the individual’s chances of a high living standard, infusions of property and cash as they grow up from their parents at crucial points like joining college, starting a family, and starting a business, and security from downward social mobility (MacMurrer & Sawhill 41). In addition, they also get to access better educational opportunities, better health care, better chances that their talents will be recognized earlier on, and consequently, healthier and longer lives that improve their ability to accumulate wealth and improve income. These benefits are not available for those born into poor families, as they have to struggle to get to the level of their wealthy-born counterparts. Being born wealthy also ensures access to cultural and social capital (MacMurrer & Sawhill 41). Children from wealthy families have friends with power ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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