Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Mobility

Key Difference – Horizontal vs Vertical Mobility
 

Horizontal and vertical mobility can be understood as a classification of social mobility between which a key difference can be identified. Before comprehending the difference between horizontal and vertical mobility, it is important to define the concept of social mobility. This refers to the change of social position of an individual or a group of individuals within a society. In every society, through different means, people can improve their social position. This is known as social mobility. However, it is necessary to highlight that a person may not be always mobile upwardly, it can even be in the opposite direction as well. This movement, whether it is upwardly or not, is known as social mobility. Now let us focus on the two categories of social mobility. Horizontal mobility is when there is a change is the position of the individual occupational or otherwise without changing the position in the social hierarchy. On the other hand, vertical mobility is when there is a change in the position of the individual that leads to a change in the positioning in the social hierarchy. This is the key difference between the two words.

What is Horizontal Mobility?

Horizontal mobility is when there is a change is the position of the individual occupation or otherwise without changing the position in the social hierarchy. This means that the individual is changing his position but remains within the same social position of the hierarchy. Let us comprehend this through an example. A person who works as a teacher in a school decides to change her occupation and work as a project coordinator in a non-governmental organization. In such a situation, although the person changes the position to a new one, there is no significant change in the position in the social hierarchy. In other words, the social status of the person remains unchanged.

Key Difference - Horizontal vs Vertical Mobility

What is Vertical Mobility?

Vertical mobility is when there is a change in the position of the individual that leads to a change in the positioning in the social hierarchy. Let us comprehend this through an example. A person who works as a customer assistant in a shop, works hard and earns money and starts up his own factory. He ends up being a successful businessman that owns a chain of shops in a region. In such a situation, there is a clear change in the position of the individual in the social hierarchy.

Vertical mobility can come with occupation, education, wealth, marriage and even ethnicity. However, it is important to highlight that vertical mobility is not always upward. It can even be downward as well.

Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Mobility

What is the difference between Horizontal and Vertical Mobility?

Definitions of Horizontal and Vertical Mobility:

Horizontal Mobility: Horizontal mobility is when there is a change is the position of the individual occupation or otherwise without changing the position in the social hierarchy.

Vertical Mobility: Vertical mobility is when there is a change in the position of the individual that leads to a change in the positioning in the social hierarchy.

Features of Horizontal and Vertical Mobility:

Change in the social hierarchy:

Horizontal Mobility: A change in the social hierarchy does not take place.

Vertical Mobility: A change in the social hierarchy takes place.

Mobility:

Horizontal Mobility: The mobility remains within the same social position.

Vertical Mobility: The mobility is either upward or downward from the present social position.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Pyramid of Capitalist System” by Artist not credited. Published by International Pub. Co., Cleveland, Ohio. – Uni Hamburg. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Going up or down advertisement” by International Correspondence Schools. – Retrieved 15 October 2013 from Popular Science Monthly, Modern Publishing Co., New York, Vol. 88, No. 3, March 1916, p. 105 on Google Books. [Public Domain] via Commons