Social Mobility

Anthony Heath, Yaojun Li

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Social mobility has long been one of the central topics of sociology. It has been the subject of major theoretical contributions from the earliest generations of scholars, as well as being of persistent political interest and concern. Social mobility is frequently used as a key measure of fairness and social justice, given the central role that modern liberal democracies give to equality of opportunity. More pragmatically, policymakers often consider it a force for economic growth and social integration.

However, discussions of social mobility have increasingly become dominated by advanced statistical techniques, impenetrable to all but specialists in quantitative methods. In this concise and lucid book, Anthony Heath and Yaojun Li cut through the technical literature to provide an eye-opening account of the ideas, debates and realities that surround this important social phenomenon. Their book illuminates the major patterns and trends in rates of social mobility, and their drivers, in contemporary western and emerging societies, ultimately enabling readers to understand and engage with this perennially relevant social issue.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
Number of pages204
ISBN (Electronic)9780745683102
ISBN (Print)9780745683065, 9780745683072
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Publication series

NameKey Concepts


  • Social mobility, absolute mobility, relative mobility, economic mobility, educational mobility, occupational attainment, gender differences, ethnic integration, racial discrimination, class, social stratification, mobility effects


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