Social mobility in the UK
Christopher Snowdon, October 2015
In October 2015, David Cameron said: “Britain has the lowest social mobility in the developed world.” No such conclusion can be derived from the evidence. “Absolute mobility” (the tendency to move up the scale to the professional classes) increased enormously in the twentieth century as a result in changes to the labour market resulting in the expansion of the middle class. Arithmetically, that phenomenon simply cannot repeat itself. “Relative mobility” refers to the fluidity upwards and downwards between classes. This has remained constant or has possibly improved slightly over the last two generations. Popular studies published by charities suggesting a fall in mobility rely on a single dataset which has been widely challenged.
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