Social Mobility Definition & Types of Social Mobility

Fri, 10/26/2012 - 10:02 -- Umar Farooq

Definition of Social Mobility

The term "social mobility" refers to the movement of individuals from one social class to another. Individuals may move up or down, or remain at the same level but in a different occupation. Sociologists study how various structural and social factors contribute to the social mobility of groups or individuals. They also compare the rate of mobility in the United States with that in other countries.

Types of Social Mobility

Sociologists have identified several types of social mobility:

  1. Horizontal social mobility
  2. Vertical social mobility
  3. Intergenerational mobility
  4. Intra-generational mobility
  5. Occupational Mobility

Horizontal Social Mobility

Horizontal mobility one of the types of mobility, is the straight change from left to right or right to left. In horizontal mobility to place is changed but the social position of an individual remains on the same level. For example; when a lecture is transferred from one government college to another with the same grade or pay scale and as a teacher is horizontal mobility.

Vertical Social Mobility

Vertical mobility refers to the change in status of an individual as moves up or down the social ladder. For example, the manager of the meat department who is promoted to general manager of the supermarket has achieved upward vertical mobility. The promotion is accompanied by an increase in income and overall responsibility. On the other hand, the major league, baseball player who is sent back to the minor leagues has suffered downward vertical mobility.

Intergenerational Social Mobility


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