Most people thought the gap between rich and poor was too big
Nearly three out of four Britons feel either worse or no better off than their parents, a survey suggests.
The poll for education charity the Sutton Trust found only one in 10 said they had moved from the bottom to the top income bracket in a generation.
Seven out of 10 of the 2,000 people polled felt they were either downwardly mobile or static since childhood.
The survey also found 69% of people thought social background played too big a role in children's life chances.
Three quarters of the people asked said they believed that the gap between rich and poor was too big.
About half thought the amount of social mobility in the UK was "about right".
A similar number of those surveyed thought the government should have a role in reducing inequality.
The charity's director of research, Dr Lee Elliot Major, said: "Opportunities in this country remain heavily determined by parental background.
"A wide range of research places Britain at or near the bottom of the league table of mobility, particularly in terms of the link between children's educational achievement and parental income.
"The public appear to recognise some of the inequalities in our society, but on the face of it half do not think that Britain is particularly socially immobile."
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said progress had been made tackling poverty.
A spokeswoman said: "As the prime minister said this week, the government's vision is to create a Britain where everyone, no matter what their background, can make the most of their potential.
"We know that deprivation and poverty in the long term can only be tackled by changing the aspirations of young people and their parents.
"We are accelerating this change by creating a world-class education system."
Gordon Brown said improving social mobility in the UK was a "national crusade" but conceded Labour had not yet made enough progress.
The prime minister also announced a £200 grant for deprived families in England who joined schemes to improve children's development.