Not height or looks, kids inherit your social status the most

  • IANS, London
  • Updated: Nov 19, 2014 18:06 IST

The social status of your ancestors still exerts an influence on your life course, a study says. Social status is consistently passed down among families over multiple generations - in fact, it is even more strongly inherited than height, the findings showed.

What is more, the Britain-based researchers found this correlation has remained unchanged over centuries, with social mobility in England in 2012 being little greater than in pre-industrial times.

"It (social status) stems from the nature of inheritance of characteristics within families," said co-author Gregory Clark from the University of California in the US. Clark conducted the research along with Neil Cummins of London School of Economics in Britain.

Social status is generally seen as a ranking of families across aspects such as education, income, wealth, occupation, and health.

"Strong forces of familial culture, social connections, and genetics must connect the generations," Clark added.

For the study, the researchers analysed the surnames of students who attended Oxford and Cambridge universities between 1170 and 2012, rich property owners between 1236 and 1299, as well as the national probate registry since 1858.

The findings appeared in the journal Human Nature.

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