Horizontal Mobility: Definition & Overview

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Negative Effects of Technology on Social Skills

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Horizontal Mobility?
  • 1:16 Vertical Vs.…
  • 2:08 Examples of Horizontal…
  • 2:31 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Horizontal mobility refers to switching from one position to another, but not changing your social status. Learn about horizontal mobility from examples, how it differs from vertical mobility, and more.

What Is Horizontal Mobility?

Susie is a third-grade teacher at Wilheim Elementary School in a small suburban city. After two years of working at Wilheim Elementary, Susie decides that she no longer wants to live in a small town and would rather live in a major city. Susie interviews for jobs in Chicago, Atlanta, and Louisville in hopes of relocating to one of these cities. After three months of looking, Susie is offered a new position as a first-grade teacher at an urban school in Atlanta. Susie switching jobs is an example of horizontal mobility.

So what do we mean by horizontal mobility? Before we can define horizontal mobility, we must first discuss what we mean when we use the term social status, since the two terms are related. Our social status refers to our rank in the social hierarchy and is based on several factors, including our:

  • Occupation
  • Wealth
  • Achievements
  • Education
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Marital status

Horizontal mobility refers to switching from one position to another without a change in social status. In order words, it's when we change our positions within our same level of social status, and we do not move up or down the social hierarchy. Though Susie changed her work position from a suburban third grade teacher to an urban first grade teacher, her social status still remained the same.

Vertical vs. Horizontal Mobility

Suppose that instead of going to Chicago to teach first grade, Susie decided to attend graduate school and pursue her PhD in Organizational Leadership. After graduation, Susie was offered a job at an organizational development consulting firm paying $120,000 a year. This would no longer be considered horizontal mobility. This is an example of vertical mobility.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account