College Education and Social Mobility

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Social mobility is either individual or group movement in social position. The movement can involve economic classes, ethnic groups, or the whole nation. Mobility measures health status and literacy in most occasions, though economic status is also a key aspect (Lanelli & Patterson, 2005). The mobility may be vertical, horizontal, or downward. Social mobility is always associated with a change in the status of an individual. It can be referred to as “absolute” meaning total movement of people from one class to another. This happens when education and economic status of an individual rises. “Relative” social mobility is based on estimation of upward or downward movement of an individual in comparison with other members.

Many a time, mobility is enabled by human, economic, cultural, social, and physical capital (Lanelli & Patterson, 2005). Cultural capital mainly deals with education one has acquired. Education expands an individual’s professional field. It (education) has enabled a huge number of individuals to enter managerial and professional occupations. Therefore, it can be agreed that education facilitates upward mobility. Despite this, education has not helped in reducing the gap between the high and low class people (Lanelli & Patterson, 2005). This is because high class people have an upper hand in acquiring education with the highest credentials. In addition, there are other forces that influence social mobility except for education as was mentioned earlier.

Despite other forces having a role in social mobility, I still believe that education is vital for anyone who intends to gain upward social mobility. Education empowers a person since it can transform one into a professional. Once one acquires such a profession, he/she can become independent and concentrate on improving themselves. They no longer depend on their parents for upkeep. This, therefore, means that education is essential in enhancing social mobility.


Lanneli, C. & Patterson, L. (2005). Does college education promote social mobility?

Retrieved on 6th April 2014 from

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