Downward mobility has become almost impossible

4 09 2007

David Aaronovitch in The London Times

Yesterday we discovered, courtesy of the publicity for a new study from the Institute of Education, that the child of a labourer is six times more likely to suffer extreme poverty by the time he or she reaches 30 than the child of a lawyer. This seems amazing until you apply Old Aaronovitch’s rule, and realise that this means that a lawyer’s child is only six times less likely to suffer poverty than a labourer’s child. And that really did surprise me.

If I’m sniffy about the top claim, I’m not all dismissive of the Institute’s report. Entitled Reducing Inequalities and using a cohort study of 17,000 people born in 1970, it has discovered a complete hierarchy of risk, with plumber’s children likely to do better than bus driver’s kids, who in turn fare less badly than the progeny of shop assistants. It’s an important study and is being taken to show how increased social mobility, despite all the Government’s efforts, remains an elusive aspiration.

More here.

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