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upward mobility (upward social mobility)

Definition of Upward Mobility

(noun) An individual’s or group’s (e.g., family) rise within the hierarchy that increases their level of class, power, or status.

Upward Mobility Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: up·ward mo·bil·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /UHp-wuhrd moh-bIl-uh-tee/
  • British English – /UHp-wuhd moh-bIl-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈʌpwərd moʊˈbɪləti/
  • British English – /ˈʌpwəd məʊˈbɪlɪti/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: upward mobilities
  • The terms “upward mobility” and “upward social mobility” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.

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Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

Cite the Definition of Upward Mobility

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “upward mobility.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 6, 2020 (http://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

upward mobility. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “upward mobility.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 6, 2020. http://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“upward mobility.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 6 Jun. 2020. <http://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/>.