Printer Friendly

Gran and grandad look key to social class; Following in path is more than chance.

Byline: Kerry Wood? 0191 201 6040 ?

ACHILD'S standing in the British class system is down to their grandparents, new research claims.

For years different grandparenting styles and the role they play in a child's life have been debated.

But now academics at Durham University have found grannies and grandads could be responsible for more than a spot of overindulging when it comes to the youngest members of their families.

New research shows the odds of children landing top professional jobs are at least 2.5 times higher if their grandparents were professors or managers.

Working with peers at Oxford University the project saw researchers trawl through more than 17,000 surveys of Britons born in 1946, 1958 and 1970.

It was discovered the link between class of grandparents and grandchildren could be observed in families both going up and down the social ladder.

According to the study, published in American Sociological Review, 80% of men with both parents and grandparents in the professional or managerial class stayed in similar advant aged positions. Only 61% of men whose parents climbed the social ladder managed to follow them into professional or managerial positions.

However the effect of children following in the footsteps of their paternal and maternal grandparents was seen less in women. Figures showed 66% of women born into higher positions stayed there, while 51% born into an upwardly mobile family retained their parents' new status.

Dr Vikki Boliver, from the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, said: "Although a handful of studies have looked at social mobility patterns of three generations, this is the first time that researchers have found that an individual's fortunes may depend on the attributes and experiences of more distant ancestors such as grandparents."

Oxford University's Dr Tak Wing Chan added: "The 'grandparents effect' in social mobility is found to operate throughout society and is not restricted to the top or bottom of the social class structure in Britain.

"It may work through a number of channels including the inheritance of wealth and property, and may be aided by durable social institutions such as generation-skipping trusts, residential segregation, and other demographic processes.

"Further investigation needs to be done to establish the precise mechanisms by which the grandparents effect endures, but our study of 17,000 Britons reveals that grandparents have a substantial effect on where their grandchildren end up in the British class system."

A survey by BBC Lab UK released in April found that the traditional division of British society into high, middle and working no longer applied in the 21st Century.

Instead it divided society into seven different social categories such as emergent service workers, technical middle class and new affluent workers.

Further investigation is needed to find the precise mechanisms by which the effect endures


FIRST Dr Boliver says this is the first time the link is made
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Previous Article:TV CHOICE.
Next Article:Signs of bounce back in region's economy; Still dangers but looks best since 2008.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters