08 September 2023

Getting on the train and climbing the social ladder

A number of young people enter CEGEP or university and some have had to leave their region to study in the big cities. Does geographic mobility mean social mobility? Marie Connolly, Full Professor of the Department of Economics, ESG UQAM and CIRANO Researcher and Fellow, Xavier St-Denis, Assistant Professor of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique and Yacine Boujija, Assistant Professor of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique follow the path of 1,4 million young people and show that the reproduction of inequalities from generation to generation has worsened in Quebec and that this phenomenon of social immobility affects more young people who still live outside the big cities at the beginning of their thirties.

This CIRANO study is the first to examine the influence of geographic mobility on intergenerational income transmission in Quebec. It is based on Statistics Canada’s Intergenerational Income Database (IID), which has a longitudinal structure that tracks children to late stages of adult life. The data come from tax data files and provide access to parent and child income information from 1978 to 2016.

In terms of geographic mobility, analyses show that the deterioration of social mobility in Quebec is mainly the result of two phenomena: on the one hand, the deterioration of the socio-economic status of young people residing outside major urban centres at age 16 and having grown up in a family at the bottom of the income distribution, and improving the situation of young people from the same regions who grew up in families at the top of the income distribution.


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The authors will present the analyses and results of their study on October 30, 2023. Further details will be available soon.