Parents of doctors are only slightly richer than the median American. Doctors are in the top 10%. Medicine is thus the best profession for upward mobility. This shouldn’t be surprising – connections and social networks matter a lot less for getting a good job as a doctor. Rather raw intelligence and schoolwork does. Even if you don’t have help practicing interviews, any medical school in the US that you get into will still assure you a high paying job. Ditto fancy residencies and practices.
Chief executives I imagine reflects the skills of those who get into business at any point, or successfully run a company, no matter how small – some strong mobility isn’t surprising there. Nor is it for nurses and cops – classic well-paying jobs for those from modest backgrounds and ones where there are plenty of jobs for those with the talent and the energy.
Arts jobs shouldn’t surprise us either – luxury professions that only the children of the rich can afford to go into. While librarians come from more average, middle-class backgrounds, they still constitute an extremely downwardly mobile profession in the digital age.