Using one-generation measures of social mobility—how much a father’s relative income influences that of his adult son—America does half as well as Nordic countries, and about the same as Britain and Italy, Europe’s least-mobile places. America is particularly exposed to the virtuous-meritocracy paradox because its poor are getting married in ever smaller numbers, leaving more children with single mothers short of time and money. One study suggests that the gap in test scores between the children of America’s richest 10% and its poorest has risen by 30-40% over the past 25 years.

"Social mobility in America: Repairing the rungs on the ladder" | The Economist

Social mobility is always a tricky thing to measure. But it’s a concept worth paying attention to. One way to judge the whether social development is going in the “right” direction is to see whether social mobility is more/less possible, and for whom, and whether it’s changing over time.

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