Just The Facts

Social Mobility: Canada Vs. the UK

The two counties may have same level of economic inequality, but are worlds apart on economic mobility.

Credit: Patrick Dobeson www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • Canada has the highest earnings mobility across generations outside of the Nordic countries.
  • Canada is also tied for the third-most unequal OECD country (along with the UK and New Zealand).
  • Of the 16 OECD countries measured, UK had the worst probability of one’s earnings level improving in the next generation.

1. On the nexus of social mobility and economic equality, Canada is perhaps the most intriguing case among the OECD economies.

2. On the one hand, Canada has the highest earnings mobility across generations outside of the Nordic countries

3. But Canada is also tied for the third-most unequal OECD country (along with the United Kingdom and New Zealand).

4. While Canadian economic inequality is not that much better than that of the neighboring United States, its intergenerational social mobility is much higher.

5. In fact, Canada is much closer to the dynamism that many people around the world still falsely assign to the United States.

6. That is why one might suggest that what has long been referred to as the “American Dream” should perhaps more properly be called the “Canadian Dream.”

7. Intergenerational progress seems to be far more achievable just across the U.S.’s northern border, despite having a broadly similar economy.

8. How do they compare to the United Kingdom? The UK has long been noted for a calcified class structure. That remains true today.

9. Of the 16 OECD countries measured, the UK had the worst probability of one’s earnings level improving in the next generation of a family.

10. Economic inequality is essentially at the same level in both the UK and Canada.

11. However, as socially immobile the UK is, featuring a real penchant to replicate elites in the next generation, Canada stands out as the UK’s polar opposite in terms of the dynamism of social mobility.

12. A recent government study found that UK workers who grew up in a working-class background get paid less than workers who grew up in a more privileged background.

See also:

1. U.S.: No Land of Opportunity

2. Social Mobility: Canada Vs. the UK

3. Social Mobility in Northern Europe

13. This holds true even if they work in the same occupation, with the same level of education and work experience.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center and OECD

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