Parent-Child Occupation Links

occupational link feat img

Facebook has made a name for itself as the king of big-data aggregation, but they’re also finding new and innovative ways to analyze that data. In a recent study, researchers at Facebook used a sample of 5.6 million parent-child pairs from English-speaking locales with occupations listed to examine the probability that a child will go into the same career as their parent. They then used occupational data to adjust the probabilities that a son/daughter would go into an occupation of their parents based on how elevated this probability is relative to the overall proportion.

The resulting interactive visual, which you can check out here, gives some pretty interesting insights about how strong the link is between parent and child occupations in various fields. Here are some of the more interesting insights from this data visualization:

  • The son of someone in a legal profession is 4.6 times more likely to go into medicine than male children in general
  • 8.5% of daughters of mothers in nursing also choose a career in nursing – almost 4 times more than the overall rate
  • Scientist fathers are 3.9 times more likely to have a scientist daughter compared to the rest of the population
  • 15% of siblings share an occupation, far above the 8.6% rate for any two same-gender, same-age individuals in the population.

In sum, though most children do choose separate occupations from their parents, Facebook concluded their findings by confirming that relative to the general population, people within a family are proportionally more likely to eventually also choose the same occupation. This isn’t exactly surprising, but it does make for a cool interactive graphic!

Ariel Jacoby
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