Generally the following factors influence social mobility:
1. Economic Prosperity:
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There are three main groups in the society known as poor, middle and rich. There are various differences in their standard of living. Rich people are respected very much in the society due to their riches.
Therefore, every individual in the society is trying his best to earn money and to improve upon his position so as to enter into the category of rich people.
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2. Structure of Society:
Social structure of society influences the social mobility. The societies of the world can be divided into two groups— closed societies and open societies. Closed societies are caste ridden (as in India) and the status of a person is determined by his being born in a particular caste.
Therefore, in such a society chances of mobility are very less because such a society remains within the bonds of caste and heredity. For example, a person born in a family of Brahmins may be poor, of bad character, will enjoy the status of Brahmin due to his birth in a Brahmin family.
But in an open society equality of opportunities are provided which encourage more social mobility due to the capabilities and educational achievement of the individuals.
3. Level of Aspiration and Achievement:
Social mobility is directly proportional to the aspirations of the people. If, the people are more aspirants, we will find more social mobility in that society.
4. Demographic Structure:
Social mobility is closely related with diffusion of population, its size and density. Birth rate and migration of village folks towards towns and cities are closely connected to social mobility.
Social mobility is promoted through development, propagation and spread of education. The people who receive more and more education achieve higher and higher social status.
6. Occupational Prestige:
All the occupations in the society do not get the same respect. Some professions carry higher prestige in comparison to other professions. For example, I.A.S. officers and Doctors are considered to be better than the Engineers, Lawyers and Teachers.
In a democratic society greater opportunities are provided for social mobility in comparison with other types of administrative societies. Democratic administration promotes social mobility to be great extent.
8. Legal and Political Factors:
Many of the legal and political restrictions have been removed after independence. Untouchability has become a sin. Everyone has been provided political equality and equality of educational opportunities etc. Any member of the society can visit temples/gurudwaras etc. By these changes in the legal and political restrictions, mobility takes place from the lower group to the higher group.
9. Intelligence Factor:
In the modern industrialized society, the inherited positions have become less and less because the person occupying the chair cannot always give the same chair to his son or daughter.
Thus, there are changes in the social positions held from one generation to another generation and, thus, making the people mobile.