Paper on Socioeconomic correlations and stratification in social-communication networks

Published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 13 125 (2016)


The uneven distribution of wealth and individual economic capacities are among the main forces, which shape modern societies and arguably bias the emerging social structures. However, the study of correlations between the social network and economic status of individuals is difficult due to the lack of large-scale multimodal data disclosing both the social ties and economic indicators of the same population. Here, we close this gap through the analysis of coupled datasets recording the mobile phone communications and bank transaction history of one million anonymized individuals living in a Latin American country. We show that wealth and debt are unevenly distributed among people in agreement with the Pareto principle; the observed social structure is strongly stratified, with people being better connected to others of their own socioeconomic class rather than to others of different classes; the social network appears to have assortative socioeconomic correlations and tightly connected ‘rich clubs’; and that individuals from the same class live closer to each other but commute further if they are wealthier. These results are based on a representative, society-large population, and empirically demonstrate some long-lasting hypotheses on socioeconomic correlations, which potentially lay behind social segregation, and induce differences in human mobility.

Comments have been disabled.