According to Sorokin, no two societies are the same in terms of movement allowed and discouraged, and that the speed of social mobility can change from one time period to the next. It depends on how developed the society is.
Such a societal shift can happen over time as individuals move from one position to another due to various social interactions. Mobility, more or less, provides people with benefits as they are motivated by different factors in society and work to reach new roles that offer them a better standard of living and greater rewards. People compete and cooperate with others in society to move up the social mobility ladder.
This refers to a change in the occupational, political, or religious status of a person that causes a change in their societal position. An individual moves from one social stratum to another. Vertical mobility can be ascending or descending.
Downward mobility can be extremely stressful for people who face a rapid decline in their social status. They may find it hard to adapt to the new environment, as it is not similar to the standard of living they are used to. Downward mobility is an example of the extent to which a society values equal opportunity and structure.
Inter-generational mobility happens when the social position changes from one generation to another. The change can be upward or downward. For example, a father worked in a factory while his son received an education that allowed him to become a lawyer or a doctor.
According to Newman , downward mobility should be a source for negative affect and psychological distress. However, when examined with regard to self-reported functional somatic symptoms in this study, the implications of such movements, over and above the importance of prior and current class, appeared small. Notwithstanding that downward mobility is probably a disruptive life event in some way, especially if involuntary, Hout and DiPrete  suggest that its negative effects may be partially alleviated. Generous and universal social security systems could potentially remove some desperation when downward mobility is at risk (e.g. in times of downsizing, job insecurities/displacements and unemployment) and consequently function as a buffer. As such, in the context of the present study it is possible that downward mobility simply does not act on health as described by Newman .
Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society. This movement occurs between layers or tiers in an open system of social stratification. Open stratification systems are those in which at least some value is given to achieved status characteristics in a society. The movement can be in a downward or upward direction. Markers for social mobility such as education and class, are used to predict, discuss and learn more about an individual or a group's mobility in society.
Mobility is most often quantitatively measured in terms of change in economic mobility such as changes in income or wealth. Occupation is another measure used in researching mobility which usually involves both quantitative and qualitative analysis of data, but other studies may concentrate on social class. Mobility may be intragenerational, within the same generation or intergenerational, between different generations. Intragenerational mobility is less frequent, representing \"rags to riches\" cases in terms of upward mobility. Intergenerational upward mobility is more common where children or grandchildren are in economic circumstances better than those of their parents or grandparents. In the US, this type of mobility is described as one of the fundamental features of the \"American Dream\" even though there is less such mobility than almost all other OECD countries.
Social mobility is highly dependent on the overall structure of social statuses and occupations in a given society. The extent of differing social positions and the manner in which they fit together or overlap provides the overall social structure of such positions. Add to this the differing dimensions of status, such as Max Weber's delineation of economic stature, prestige, and power and we see the potential for complexity in a given social stratification system. Such dimensions within a given society can be seen as independent variables that can explain differences in social mobility at different times and places in different stratification systems. In addition, the same variables that contribute as intervening variables to the valuation of income or wealth and that also affect social status, social class, and social inequality do affect social mobility. These include sex or gender, race or ethnicity, and age.
Education provides one of the most promising chances of upward social mobility and attaining a higher social status, regardless of current social standing. However, the stratification of social classes and high wealth inequality directly affects the educational opportunities and outcomes. In other words, social class and a family's socioeconomic status directly affect a child's chances for obtaining a quality education and succeeding in life. By age five, there are significant developmental differences between low, middle, and upper class children's cognitive and noncognitive skills.
This may be partly due to lower- and working-class parents (where neither is educated above high school diploma level) spending less time on average with their children in their earliest years of life and not being as involved in their children's education and time out of school. This parenting style, known as \"accomplishment of natural growth\" differs from the style of middle-class and upper-class parents (with at least one parent having higher education), known as \"cultural cultivation\". More affluent social classes are able to spend more time with their children at early ages, and children receive more exposure to interactions and activities that lead to cognitive and non-cognitive development: things like verbal communication, parent-child engagement and being read to daily. These children's parents are much more involved in their academics and their free time; placing them in extracurricular activities which develop not only additional non-cognitive skills but also academic values, habits, and abilities to better communicate and interact with authority figures. Lower class children often attend lower quality schools, receive less attention from teachers and ask for help much less than their higher class peers.
The chances for social mobility are primarily determined by the family a child is born into. Today, the gaps seen in both access to education and educational success (graduating from a higher institution) is even larger. Today, while college applicants from every socioeconomic class are equally qualified, 75% of all entering freshmen classes at top-tier American institutions belong to the uppermost socioeconomic quartile. A family's class determines the amount of investment and involvement parents have in their children's educational abilities and success from their earliest years of life, leaving low-income students with less chance for academic success and social mobility due to the effects that the (common) parenting style of the lower and working-class have on their outlook on and success in education.
These differing dimensions of social mobility can be classified in terms of differing types of capital that contribute to changes in mobility. Cultural capital, a term first coined by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu distinguishes between the economic and cultural aspects of class. Bourdieu described three types of capital that place a person in a certain social category: economic capital; social capital; and cultural capital. Economic capital includes economic resources such as cash, credit, and other material assets. Social capital includes resources one achieves based on group membership, networks of influence, relationships and support from other people. Cultural capital is any advantage a person has that gives them a higher status in society, such as education, skills, or any other form of knowledge. Usually, people with all three types of capital have a high status in society. Bourdieu found that the culture of the upper social class is oriented more toward formal reasoning and abstract thought. The lower social class is geared more towards matters of facts and the necessities of life. He also found that the environment in which a person develops has a large effect on the cultural resources that a person will have.
In the United States, links between minority underperformance in schools have been made with a lacking in the cultural resources of cultural capital, social capital and economic capital, yet inconsistencies persist even when these variables are accounted for. \"Once admitted to institutions of higher education, African Americans and Latinos continued to underperform relative to their white and Asian counterparts, earning lower grades, progressing at a slower rate and dropping out at higher rates. More disturbing was the fact that these differentials persisted even after controlling for obvious factors such as SAT scores and family socioeconomic status\".
The term \"social gradient\" in health refers to the idea that the inequalities in health are connected to the social status a person has. Two ideas concerning the relationship between health and social mobility are the social causation hypothesis and the health selection hypothesis. These hypotheses explore whether health dictates social mobility or whether social mobility dictates quality of health. The social causation hypothesis states that social factors (individual behavior and the environmental circumstances) determine an individual's health. Conversely, the health selection hypothesis states that health determines what social stratum an individual will be in.