There are 2 varieties of social mobility. The first is absolute mobility which is the aggregate of an individual's movement through socio-economic structures of society. Absolute mobility is determined by comparing the origin of social class (that of ones parents) against their social class as an adult. This kind of mobility can increase or decrease depending on ones occupational structure. The other variety of mobility is relative. Relative mobility looks at the chance of being socially mobile varies according to a beginning position. In society the chance of attaining a place in occupational class structure is not determined by a person's social class origin.
Education is a clear-cut determinant of whether or not a person is upwardly mobile. In today's society a person cannot advance rapidly in social class without going to school. Unless otherwise raised in a wealthy family, there is little chance of a person advancing in occupation status or living in the high class society.
When social mobility is high, people are more able to move around within the income distribution from generation to generation and year to year depending on their own efforts (working hard, achieving a good education, saving for future, and making wise investments. It also depends on external factors such as health, luck, and changing of family composition.
When social mobility is low, most people are stuck on the income distribution scale year after year and pass down through generations. Only with enormous effort and/or luck this can change.
In my paper I will look at my grandparents and their social mobility and how it changed with my own parents and then again with my immediate family. Our family history starts out with very low social mobility and through marriage and hard work my parents were able to climb the social ladder.