Upward mobility is a measure of equality of opportunity, which describes the extent to which individuals born at the bottom of the socioeconomic distribution can move up in the distribution. A place with high upward mobility is one where your parents’ position in the hierarchy does not fully determine your life outcomes. In places with high mobility, people can attain high economic status even if they start out poor.
Average upward mobility in India has not improved from the preliberalization era to the present. Sons and daughters born into families at the bottom of the distribution are just as likely to stay at the bottom of the distribution today as they were in the 1950s.
Upward mobility has risen substantially for members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and remained high for the rest of the population (Forward Castes, Other Backward Castes (OBCs), and others). Muslims are now the least upwardly mobile group in India.
Mobility is higher for girls than boys in urban areas, but much higher for boys than girls in rural areas.
© Development Data Lab, 2023