Published Jun 15, 2020

Zhiqiang Yue  

Ke Yin


Based on the findings of the China General Social Survey, this study aims to analyze the trend of the intergenerational mobility in China since the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy by evaluating the absolute and relative mobility rates through the mobility table. The intergenerational mobility level in China is relatively high from the perspective of the absolute mobility rates. Besides, the overall trend is upward and social openness is quite high. However, the intergenerational mobility level is relatively low and gradually declining from the perspective of the relative mobility rates that reflect the equality of mobility opportunities. In addition, the social class structure shows a tendency of solidifying. While the absolute mobility rates reflect the efficiency of the intergenerational mobility, the relative mobility rates reflect its fairness. However, since the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy, Chinese society appears to be in a state of inadequate equality but with high efficiency. In this study, we generally regarded education as a critical factor of the intergenerational mobility. Lately, China has implemented a series of education policies, including the resumption of university entrance examination policy, compulsory education policy, and college enrollment expansion policy. The Chinese government endeavors to enhance national education attainment and sustain absolute mobility at a higher level. Nevertheless, the differences in education attainment of offspring from different social classes have increased gradually, making education inequality a significant factor of lower relative mobility. Thus, the government should increase the intergenerational mobility level by creating a healthy and stable economic development environment and improving education inequality.


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Social Class, Solidifying, Intergenerational Mobility, Education Inequality, Reform and Opening-Up Policy

Supporting Agencies

Key Project of Philosophy and Social Science Research of the Ministry of Education of China “Study on the Relationship between Education and Economic Development and the Contribution of Education” (Project No.: 15JZD040, to Yuhong Du).

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How to Cite
Yue, Z., & Yin, K. (2020). Opening or Solidifying? The Trend of the Intergenerational Mobility in China since the Implementation of the Reform and Opening-up Policy. Science Insights Education Frontiers, 6(1), 579-598. https://doi.org/10.15354/sief.20.or015
Original Article