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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

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /ˈəpwərd moʊˈbɪlᵻdi/
    • British English
      • /ˈʌpwəd mə(ʊ)ˈbɪlᵻti/
  • Syllabification: (up·ward mo·bil·i·ty)

Usage Notes

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

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 October 16, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

upward mobility. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://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 October 16, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“upward mobility.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/upward-mobility/>.