This summary presents the latest international research findings on social mobility, educational achievement, and other key characteristics of the four major Anglophone countries - the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia. The report, which highlights some of the key findings to be presented at a London summit jointly sponsored by the Sutton Trust and Carnegie of New York, is the latest in a continuing line of work investigating international comparisons of mobility.
In 2005, a Sutton Trust report catapulted the issue of Britain's low social mobility into mainstream public debate in the country. It highlighted that the chances of climbing (or dropping down) the income ladder had declined for today's adults compared with those from a generation before, and that Britain together with the US has the lowest social mobility of any advanced country for which there is data. In 2008 the Trust jointly organised with Carnegie of New York a summit exploring the factors behind low mobility in the US and UK.
The 2012 Sutton-Carnegie summit is a follow-up to the 2008 meeting, widening the scope of the study to compare and contrast the UK and US with Canada and Australia, two countries which have high mobility rates by international standards. Many of the key findings come from a new book Parents to Children published to coincide with the summit by the US based Russell Sage Foundation, following a partnership with the Sutton Trust and the Pew Trusts, also based in the US. The work is motivated by profound concerns that the educational performance and life chances of less privileged children continues to lag behind their more advantaged peers. The hope is that looking at international comparisons and the differences between countries will yield some lessons to improve mobility