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Nexus Between Income Inequality and Social Mobility

My cousin, Jude, is a college student in one of the colleges in Baltimore pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Having a solid educational background, his parents sacrificed a lot to have him enrolled in college with the undying hope that he’ll become successful and offload their burdens. However, fate had another plan as his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which shook their lives forever. Therefore, to pay hospital bills, Jude was forced to differ from his studies due to economic constraints. As a result, he ventured into modeling with the hopes of saving money and resuming back to his studies. However, as he adapted to the lifestyle and commitment of his new career, he became conflicted about whether it was still worthy to go back to school. According to him, the pros of being a model currently outweigh the pros of being a student. Therefore this scenario builds nicely with the contributions of Melisa Kearney and Philip Levine (2016), arguing that one of the principal explanations of dropouts period utility where if a student perceives that being in school will not generate desirable future utility, then the student is more likely to drop out.

My uncle, a high school dropout, worked as a waiter in one of the restaurants in Georgia .before being laid off in 2020 due to the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. Motivated by the tremendous responsibilities to help support himself and his family in his youth, he decided to work as a waiter part-time. However, this had a significant impact on his studies because he had a difficult time balancing his schoolwork and work, and as projected by the results of Sierra et al. (2016), he finally dropped out of school. When the covid 19 pandemic occurred, the policies to counter the spread brought about economic constraints that forced the employers to lay off some of the workers, of which my uncle was among them. Therefore, having worked in an informal sector that did not require academic credentials, his efforts to land himself a new job has more often met dead ends. In addition, the economy has changed in recent decades; thus, jobs that initially required low educational background are scarce, leaving dropouts with minimal opportunities.

Lastly, one can move ahead in social mobility by observing specific measures. To begin with, policies should be made that would guarantee all youth a right start that would help disadvantaged children avoid poor careers. This can be achieved through apprenticeship training in workplaces that will empower them with the skills to be employed. In addition, preventing early dropout is another means to increase mobility. Since poor performance has been a significant influence of dropping out of school, there is a need to counter low performance by identifying low-performing students and offering targeted support (OECD, 2018).

Furthermore, promoting equality of opportunities in education can increase social mobility. By schools making choices that avoid segregations and making funding strategies that meet students’ and schools’ needs, one can promote equal opportunity for education. Finally, addressing other occupational barriers for disadvantaged youths can help increase social mobility, especially for underprivileged students who perform well but lack the necessary skills, appropriate work experience, and informal behavioral conduct. To counter this, mentorship programs can be facilitated to equip them with the skills needed to jumpstart their careers, resulting in better opportunities to grow.


Melissa K. and Philip. L (2016) Income inequality, social mobility and the decision to drop out of high school

Sierra et al. (2016) Dropping out, Clocking in and Falling behind

OECD (2018) How to Promote Social Mobility


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