In recent years a great deal of effort has gone into the specification of causal models describing the social mobility process, but virtually no effort has been made to specify a model for the poor, a segment of the population for which the issue of social mobility is particularly crucial. In the present study we ask whether the process of socioeconomic achievement for the poor can be described using the same model as for the non-poor, or whether a separate model is required for the poor; we conclude that a separate model for the poor is needed. The data used is a national cross-section panel study; respondents were interviewed once yearly for each of five consecutive years. In the present study, which is limited to male heads of household in the labor force, we find that such variables as father's education and father's occupational status have a stronger impact on the occupational status of the poor than on that of the non-poor. Education on the other hand has a stronger impact on the occupational status of the non-poor. These differences are summarized in separate path models for the poor and for the nonpoor.

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