Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gran and Grandad Look Key to Social Class; Following in Path Is More Than Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gran and Grandad Look Key to Social Class; Following in Path Is More Than Chance

Article excerpt

Byline: Kerry Wood? 0191 201 6040 ? kerry.wood@ncjmedia.co.uk

ACHILD'S standing in the British class system is down to their grandparents, new research claims.

For years different grandparenting styles and the role they play in a child's life have been debated.

But now academics at Durham University have found grannies and grandads could be responsible for more than a spot of overindulging when it comes to the youngest members of their families.

New research shows the odds of children landing top professional jobs are at least 2.5 times higher if their grandparents were professors or managers.

Working with peers at Oxford University the project saw researchers trawl through more than 17,000 surveys of Britons born in 1946, 1958 and 1970.

It was discovered the link between class of grandparents and grandchildren could be observed in families both going up and down the social ladder.

According to the study, published in American Sociological Review, 80% of men with both parents and grandparents in the professional or managerial class stayed in similar advant aged positions. Only 61% of men whose parents climbed the social ladder managed to follow them into professional or managerial positions.

However the effect of children following in the footsteps of their paternal and maternal grandparents was seen less in women. Figures showed 66% of women born into higher positions stayed there, while 51% born into an upwardly mobile family retained their parents' new status.

Dr Vikki Boliver, from the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, said: "Although a handful of studies have looked at social mobility patterns of three generations, this is the first time that researchers have found that an individual's fortunes may depend on the attributes and experiences of more distant ancestors such as grandparents. …

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