Friday, May 05, 2006

Can people move up in America? In a sociology class I took, when the topic turned to occupational mobility, the professor told us there was no such thing in the U.S. Well, I now know that if a sociologist says something, bet the other way. According to the GSS, 25% of people whose father went no further than high school earned either a bachelor's or a graduate degree. But certainly nobody whose father was a high school dropout got anywhere, right? Wrong--11% completed a 4-year degree or more. If I confronted Mr. Sociologist with these facts, he would say that, yes, there is some movement, but the fact that the numbers are not bigger is due to nothing but unjust social restraints. But how well do children of high school dropouts do if they answer a challenging GSS reasoning-ability question correctly? Thirty percent of them get a bachelor's or graduate degree.

1 comment:

Tino_G said...

This is an important fact, thanks for pointing it out. Economic research shows the same thing, large degree of income mobillity both over time for the same person and withing generation.

There is a lot of abuse of figures among jouunalists (for example the Economist) to "prove" the american dream is not true.