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Elien Dalman portrait

Elien Dalman


Elien Dalman portrait

Social stratification of men and women in Sweden 1880-2015


  • Elien van Dongen

Summary, in English

I describe changes in the social structure of the Swedish workforce over the long term. Occupational coding from nine full count censuses from 1880 until 1990 and 2001-2016 occupational registers is aligned to comprehensively map social stratification for birth cohorts born 1820-1985. We show occupational upgrading for working women and men over the past 150 years. The male and
female workforce converge to a similar ‘big class’ structure by the 2000s, while important ‘horizontal’ gender differences remain at the level of microclasses. Before 1900 social class was intertwined with marital status for many: men transitioned from farm work to farming, and women from domestic
service to housework upon marriage. In the second half of the twentieth century marital status and social class became disentangled, as farming classes were decimated. Occupational upgrading of the workforce was limited to the higher social strata after 1960. Professional and supervisory classes grew at the cost of skilled manual classes and self-employed farmers. The size of lower social strata, increasingly composed of immigrant groups, has been constant since 1960. In contrast, immigrant groups formed a small elite in Sweden around 1900.


  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen
  • Centrum för ekonomisk demografi






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Economic History
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Social Stratification
  • Gender
  • Migrant Status
  • Social Class
  • Marital Status
  • Long-term development

Conference name

Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification and Mobility 2022 meeting

Conference date

2022-04-21 - 2022-04-23

Conference place

London, United Kingdom