Oxford Social Mobility Survey Archive

Scope and Content

Schedules of the 1972 Oxford Social Mobility Enquiry. Details include: 1) The occupations held by respondents at various stages in their working lives and their associated employment status and industry. 2) Their education and all forms of occupationally relevant training. 3) Their formal qualifications. 4) To a more limited extent, the occupations, training, and qualifications of various of their kin. Questions were also included on respondents' areas of residence, current areas of income, friendship patterns and political affiliations.

Administrative / Biographical History

The survey was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and was set up to enquire into patterns of social mobility in England and Wales. Locations observed were National; Country: England and Wales. 10, 309 case studies were made. The population surveyed was men between 20 and 64 resident in England and Wales in 1972. The project was investigated by individuals from Oxfordshire Social Mobility Group; Nuffield College, Oxford; and Jesus College, Oxford. Part of the sample was re-interviewed in 1974 (these surveys are not included in the archive). Groups of wards and parishes were used as primary sampling units, selected in strata by population density, and the electoral registers for each primary unit were then taken as the frame for the random selection of individuals.

Reference: Social Mobility Enquiry, 1972 ( http://biron.essex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/biron ). Accessed January 2002.

Access Information

Restrictions apply to the use if this archive. For further details please contact the Archivist at the University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited by Nuffield College, Oxford in 2000.

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits of the 1974 materials are expected.


A. H. Halsey, A. F. Heath & J. M. Ridge, Origins and destinations: family, class and education in modern Britain , Oxford University Press, 1980; C. Payne, 'Look-up tables', PSTAT UK Newsletter , No. 1, May 1984.