The Unites States is the land of opportunities where people pursuit the American dream to have a better life. American life is built on the faith that it is possible to rise from humble origins to economic heights. In that case social mobility plays a big role in todays society. Social mobility refers to the ability to change the positions within a social stratification system. In other words, when people improve or decrease their economic status in the way that it affects their social class, they experience either pward or downward social mobility.
With this in mind, the social mobility in United States appears to be stalled or in decline. One of the main reasons is poverty that is causing a decline. Furthermore, the rich-poor gap that widens also has an effect on mobility causing income inequality. Also, European social mobility is much better than that one in the United States. Some other factors that influence social mobility include race, income, mother and father occupation, and ethnicity. Certainly, one of the reasons why social mobility in United States appears to be talled or in decline is because of poverty.
The higher the individual starts on the social ladder the more likely that individual will end up higher than where he or she first started. The more income the parents have will guarantee more opportunities for that person. According to Economic Mobility Project, 40% of Americans that are born in the bottom quintile remain stuck there as adults (“Upper bound”). That means that that almost half of that social group doesn’t change their position within a social stratification system.
That doesn’t mean it is their fault because people that are poor start with a disadvantage. For example, according to Eric Wanner, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, “Upper-income families can invest more in their children’s education and they may have a better understanding of what it takes to get a good education. ” (“Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs” by Jason DeParle). That means that a child that comes from a richer family has more educational opportunities than a child coming from the poor.
Furthermore, a child oming from rich family will have a better understanding on how to succeed in school where on the other hand, child from poor family doesn’t have that opportunity. However, Just 8% of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth. That shows that even though it is difficult it is still possible. Generally speaking, the rich-poor gap that widens also has an effect on mobility causing income inequality. As the gap between rich and the poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child that is born in poverty will climb to wealth remain stuck.
Same goes to child that is born rich will fall into middle class. One reason for mobility gap may be the depth of American poverty which leaves poor children starting especially far behind. Most of the time it is determined by the father and mother occupation. Based on the new data gathered by Bhashkar Mazumder of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, he argued that 60% of a son’s income is determined by the level of income of the father. (“Goodbye, Horatio Alger”). This means that more than half of men are dependable on their father’s income.
Furthermore, this shows that the higher the income ot parents, the more opportunities the child example, researchers now estimate the elasticity of father-son earnings at 0. 5%. That means that for every 1% increase in father’s income, his sons’ income will be increased or expected to increase by about 0. 5%. ((“Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs”). In other words, the better the income of the father, the better the income of the son. So the family background is very important in social mobility.
In contrast, European social mobility is much better than that one in the United States. European countries have made serious investments to create equality of opportunity for all. According to Fareed Zakaria in “The downward path of upward mobility,” they have extremely good childhood health and nutrition programs, and they have far better public educations systems than the United States does. Furthermore, poor children compete on a more equal footing against the rich and in the United States poor children compete for better education few steps behind then others.