The concept of social mobility is the ability of persons to move up and down the hierarchal structure of social stratification. Social mobility is also affected by the role of class. In America it is widely understood that class matters. Class played a larger role in social mobility in the early part of the twentieth century than it does today. This is due to the new range of socioeconomic opportunities that can be found in present economic arenas. Today a person’s social mobility is not necessarily restricted to his or her class of origin. This means however, that fewer destinations are available that are above a person’s starting point. This is good news and bad. The bad news is that the youngest Americans are without stable material well-being. The good news is that this promotes a much fairer process for social mobility.
The opportunity to change one’s social status is directly related to the degree to which skills and ambitions of a person can alter their current worldly situation. Contributing factors such as family, marriage, gender, and work status play key roles in social mobility, but the principle element to social mobility depends on two very important components, opportunity and economic availability. In the United States, social mobility is as fundamental to public philosophy as the concept of opportunity.
Although many contributing factors to social mobility are less important today than generations before, they still must be considered when contemplating the availability of social mobility inside America. A very intriguing phenomenon taking place is the concern by society for an achieved social status rather than an ascribed status or one he was born into. This may say a lot for the trend that social mobility is now taking with in modern society.
This does not mean that the contributing elements to social mobility are obsolete. These factors still weigh in too heavy on social influence to totally disregard. Social stratification can and does still influence many aspects of our culture for access to social mobility. It may not be as influential as it once was but nonetheless it carries considerable weight for climbing the social ladder of opportunity.