Factors Affecting Social Mobility

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In the book Outliers, Gladwell talks about what factors that are provided to be successful such as when and where one is born can influence the opportunities someone receives. People who have more advantages over others will experience a higher level of social mobility; others will continue to suffer due to inequality of income, bad habits, and negative environmental issues as the achievement gap of the United States continues to widen.

One of the first factors contributing to success is income inequality. In society today, income inequality continues to grow and is widening the educational achievement gap between the children of the wealthiest and the children of everyone else. Over the past 50 years, the achievement gap widens beginning in the 1970s. Sean Reardon, a professor of sociology writes, “The past 30 years have seen a sustained rise in inequality in wages, incomes, and wealth, leading to more and more income and wealth accruing to those at the top of the economic ladder, pulling the rich further away from those on the other rungs” (equitablegrowth). The wealthier families are able to afford to enroll their children into expensive private schools with more educational resources.

Another external factor is being surrounded in a toxic environment. Associating with a negative person or being in a negative environment can be one of the most harming influence in life. Despite how positive one is, a negative person, or a dismissive environment can unintentionally rub off to negative thoughts before positive ones. To avoid this factor, notice daily conversations and dismiss negative vibes and re-evaluate to make the environment a better place to help with success.

An example of the ways a negative environment can affect being successful can be found in chapter four where Gladwell compares two geniuses that came from different environments. One of the geniuses is Chris Langan who is a well known man with an IQ between 190 and 210 making him one of most the smartest man alive. Langan was born into a very poor family with a drunken father and grew up in a dull environment especially with his parents being absent throughout his life. Although his IQ was off the charts, Langan is not credited because he did not have a good education due to financial issues (93). Robert Oppenheimer however, is also known to be a true genius who grew up into a wealthy family due to his parents success. With all the support growing up, Oppenheimer earned a degree at both Harvard and Cambridge University (97). Robert Oppenheimer gained respect from his high education and success.

Lastly, another factor that will lead to the failure of social mobility is maintaining bad habits. There are some bad habits that can prevent us from being successful in life. For example, being lazy. Laziness is a bad habit that completely impacts on our desires to be successful. With having the reluctance to work, it indicates procrastination (Greatperformersacademy). In order to be successful, become aware of bad habits and replace them with good ones is one step closer to decrease the suffering of social mobility.

Therefore, if society continues to let these external factors affect the path to success, social mobility will continue to suffer if no action is being taken to create awareness on these poor elements that are negatively affecting and plan to remove them.

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Factors Affecting Social Mobility. (2021, Apr 07). Retrieved July 19, 2024 , from

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