social mobility

noun
mobility ( def 2 ).

Origin:
1925–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  social mobility
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  the ability of individuals or groups to move within a social hierarchy with changes in income, education, occupation, etc.
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

social mobility definition


The ability of individuals or groups to move upward or downward in status based on wealth, occupation, education, or some other social variable.

Note: American society operates on the principle that an individual's achievements can be rewarded by upward social mobility.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

social mobility

movement of individuals, families, or groups through a system of social hierarchy or stratification. If such mobility involves a change in position, especially in occupation, but no change in social class, it is called "horizontal mobility." An example would be a person who moves from a managerial position in one company to a similar position in another. If, however, the move involves a change in social class, it is called "vertical mobility" and involves either "upward mobility" or "downward mobility." An industrial worker who becomes a wealthy businessman moves upward in the class system; a landed aristocrat who loses everything in a revolution moves downward in the system

Learn more about social mobility with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
All political leaders in advanced democracies are concerned with prosperity,
  economic opportunity, social mobility.
Prospects for upward social mobility and meaningful political reform were
  nonexistent.
Education is the engine of social mobility, and it's sputtering.
Kids do better in school, and social mobility is higher.
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