Exploring the social mobility of minority ethnic groups in Britain

Lucinda Platt, University of Essex

[Project number 40004]

Our understanding of the processes of social mobility as they differ by ethnic group and the causes of such differences is extremely limited. While some research has been carried out on this subject in the US context (e.g. Hout 1984, Yamaguchi 2003), the small British literature has been limited either to comparisons of cross-sections (e.g. Modood 1997; Robinson 1990), which do not tell us about actual class transitions, or to studies which predominantly use the pre-migration class of migrants and do not distinguish between pre- and post- migration class (e.g. Heath and McMahon 1999).

The aim is to identify intergenerational patterns of social mobility by ethnic group, between the migrant (first) generation and second generation; and to explore and understand the differences between groups in the extent of their intergenerational social mobility. This project builds on the current work using the LS by the researcher (Platt 2003a, project 30008), and the limited British literature on ethnic group differences in social mobility, to further develop our understanding of intergenerational class processes and how these vary with ethnic and migration background.