Social Mobility By Country 2021

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Social mobility is the movement of persons, families, or households within or between social strata in society. Social mobility allows persons to change their social status relative to their current social location within their society.

Social mobility is any change in social position, whether downward or upward. Most often, social mobility is measured in terms of economic mobility, such as changes in income or wealth.

Education provides one of the best chances of upward social mobility regardless of current social status or class. Social class and differences in wealth, however, affect people’s access to education and how successful they are in educational opportunities.

Differences in social status have several markers. These markers include health, housing, income, education, race, and gender. Living standards around the world have improved significantly; however, not everyone has a fair shot at success. Ultimately, social mobility boils down to what opportunities people have in the country that they live in.

Social mobility is important for nations to improve on. Many countries fail to provide fair conditions to their citizens, whether it is a lack of fair and livable wages or poor educational opportunities. Improving these conditions, therefore improving social mobility, allows citizens to feel secure and trust their governments, as well as can reduce tensions and conflict between social classes. Additionally, social mobility can boost a country’s economy.

Social Mobility by Country

The World Economic Forum produced the Global Social Mobility report, ranking 82 countries according to five key metrics. The inaugural report measured healthcare, education, tech access, work opportunities, and social protection.

Of the countries analyzed, the ten with the highest social mobility are:

  1. Denmark – 85.2
  2. Norway – 83.6
  3. Finland – 83.6
  4. Sweden – 83.5
  5. Iceland – 82.7
  6. Netherlands – 82.4
  7. Switzerland – 82.1
  8. Austria – 80.1
  9. Belgium – 80.1
  10. Luxembourg – 79.8

Seventeen of the top 20 most socially mobile countries in the world, and all of the ten most socially mobile countries, are located in Europe. Nordic countries lead the rankings due to their inclusive institutions, great job opportunities, social safety nets (welfare states), and high-quality education systems. These nations have what is called “stakeholder capitalism,” which takes into account the interests of all stakeholders, not corporate stakeholders.

If you were born into a poor family and were to reach median income, it is estimated that it would take about two generations to accomplish doing so in Denmark and three in Sweden, Finland, and Norway.

The ten countries with the lowest social mobility in the world are:

  1. Côte d’Ivoire – 34.5
  2. Senegal – 36.0
  3. Cameroon – 36.0
  4. Pakistan – 36.7
  5. Bangladesh – 40.2
  6. South Africa – 41.4
  7. India – 42.7
  8. Guatemala – 43.5
  9. Honduras – 43.5
  10. Morocco – 43.7

Côte d’Ivoire, which has the lowest social mobility of the 82 countries analyzed, falls behind on access to education, fair wages, and gender equality. The country has the highest gender inequality rate in the world. The poverty rate is also very high at 46.3%.

A person born into a poor family in any of the least socially mobile countries would take a significantly longer time to reach the median income. In South Africa, it would take about nine generations.

The United States ranks at 27 with a score of 70.4. The U.S. lags behind its comparable peers in Europe. Absolute upward mobility in the US has been declining since the 1940s. More than 90% of those born in the 1940s earned more than their parents, but that number has dropped to 50% today. The probability that children with parents from the bottom half of education ranks will “out-learn” their parents and reach the top of the education ranks has declined as well.

Social Mobility By Country 2021

Rank Country 2021 Population
China1,444,216,107
India1,393,409,038
United States332,915,073
Indonesia276,361,783
Pakistan225,199,937
Brazil213,993,437
Nigeria211,400,708
Bangladesh166,303,498
Russia145,912,025
Mexico130,262,216
Japan126,050,804
Ethiopia117,876,227
Philippines111,046,913
Egypt104,258,327
Vietnam98,168,833
Dr Congo92,377,993
Turkey85,042,738
Iran85,028,759
Germany83,900,473
Thailand69,950,850
United Kingdom68,207,116
France65,426,179
Tanzania61,498,437
Italy60,367,477
South Africa60,041,994
Kenya54,985,698
Myanmar54,806,012
South Korea51,305,186
Colombia51,265,844
Uganda47,123,531
Spain46,745,216
Argentina45,605,826
Sudan44,909,353
Algeria44,616,624
Ukraine43,466,819
Iraq41,179,350
Afghanistan39,835,428
Canada38,067,903
Poland37,797,005
Morocco37,344,795
Saudi Arabia35,340,683
Uzbekistan33,935,763
Angola33,933,610
Peru33,359,418
Malaysia32,776,194
Mozambique32,163,047
Ghana31,732,129
Yemen30,490,640
Nepal29,674,920
Venezuela28,704,954
Madagascar28,427,328
Cameroon27,224,265
Ivory Coast27,053,629
North Korea25,887,041
Australia25,788,215
Niger25,130,817
Taiwan23,855,010
Sri Lanka21,497,310
Burkina Faso21,497,096
Mali20,855,735
Malawi19,647,684
Chile19,212,361
Romania19,127,774
Kazakhstan18,994,962
Zambia18,920,651
Syria18,275,702
Guatemala18,249,860
Ecuador17,888,475
Senegal17,196,301
Netherlands17,173,099
Cambodia16,946,438
Chad16,914,985
Somalia16,359,504
Zimbabwe15,092,171
Guinea13,497,244
Rwanda13,276,513
Benin12,451,040
Burundi12,255,433
Tunisia11,935,766
Bolivia11,832,940
Belgium11,632,326
Haiti11,541,685
South Sudan11,381,378
Cuba11,317,505
Dominican Republic10,953,703
Czech Republic10,724,555
Greece10,370,744
Jordan10,269,021
Azerbaijan10,223,342
Portugal10,167,925
Sweden10,160,169
Honduras10,062,991
United Arab Emirates9,991,089
Tajikistan9,749,627
Hungary9,634,164
Belarus9,442,862
Papua New Guinea9,119,010
Austria9,043,070
Israel8,789,774
Switzerland8,715,494
Serbia8,697,550
Togo8,478,250
Sierra Leone8,141,343
Hong Kong7,552,810
Laos7,379,358
Paraguay7,219,638
Libya6,958,532
Bulgaria6,896,663
Lebanon6,769,146
Nicaragua6,702,385
Kyrgyzstan6,628,356
El Salvador6,518,499
Turkmenistan6,117,924
Singapore5,896,686
Denmark5,813,298
Republic Of The Congo5,657,013
Finland5,548,360
Norway5,465,630
Slovakia5,460,721
Oman5,223,375
Palestine5,222,748
Liberia5,180,203
Costa Rica5,139,052
Ireland4,982,907
Central African Republic4,919,981
New Zealand4,860,643
Mauritania4,775,119
Panama4,381,579
Kuwait4,328,550
Croatia4,081,651
Moldova4,024,019
Georgia3,979,765
Eritrea3,601,467
Uruguay3,485,151
Mongolia3,329,289
Bosnia And Herzegovina3,263,466
Jamaica2,973,463
Armenia2,968,127
Qatar2,930,528
Albania2,872,933
Puerto Rico2,828,255
Lithuania2,689,862
Namibia2,587,344
Gambia2,486,945
Botswana2,397,241
Gabon2,278,825
Lesotho2,159,079
North Macedonia2,082,658
Slovenia2,078,724
Guinea Bissau2,015,494
Latvia1,866,942
Bahrain1,748,296
Equatorial Guinea1,449,896
Trinidad And Tobago1,403,375
Timor Leste1,343,873
Estonia1,325,185
Mauritius1,273,433
Cyprus1,215,584
Eswatini1,172,362
Djibouti1,002,187
Fiji902,906
Reunion901,686
Comoros888,451
Guyana790,326
Bhutan779,898
Solomon Islands703,996
Macau658,394
Luxembourg634,814
Montenegro628,053
Western Sahara611,875
Suriname591,800
Cape Verde561,898
Maldives543,617
Malta442,784
Brunei441,532
Belize404,914
Guadeloupe400,020
Bahamas396,913
Martinique374,745
Iceland343,353
Vanuatu314,464
French Guiana306,448
New Caledonia288,218
Barbados287,711
French Polynesia282,530
Mayotte279,515
Sao Tome And Principe223,368
Samoa200,149
Saint Lucia184,400
Guam170,179
Curacao164,798
Kiribati121,392
Micronesia116,254
Grenada113,021
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines111,263
Aruba107,204
Tonga106,760
United States Virgin Islands104,226
Seychelles98,908
Antigua And Barbuda98,731
Isle Of Man85,410
Andorra77,355
Dominica72,167
Cayman Islands66,497
Bermuda62,090
Marshall Islands59,610
Northern Mariana Islands57,917
Greenland56,877
American Samoa55,100
Saint Kitts And Nevis53,544
Faroe Islands49,049
Sint Maarten43,412
Monaco39,511
Saint Martin39,234
Turks And Caicos Islands39,231
Liechtenstein38,250
San Marino34,017
Gibraltar33,698
British Virgin Islands30,421
Palau18,169
Cook Islands17,565
Anguilla15,117
Tuvalu11,931
Wallis And Futuna11,094
Nauru10,876
Saint Barthelemy9,907
Saint Pierre And Miquelon5,766
Montserrat4,977
Falkland Islands3,533
Niue1,619
Tokelau1,373
Vatican City800

Social Mobility By Country 2021