Technological progress, demographic change and the advancement of globalisation are transforming the working world. These developments render education, vocational training and further training more important today than ever before for people’s long-term employment prospects and life opportunities. Educational poverty is thus at the same time both a crucial dimension of social inequality and a primary cause of social inequality in all areas of life. The welfare state, personal health and intergenerational (family) relationships have just as decisive an influence on life opportunities and social participation in our society. This Research Area thus focuses on the causes of social inequalities in these areas and on society’s possibilities for removing such inequalities, while always also exploring the interplay between social developments, institutional arrangements and individual options for action. Most of the research is based either historically or on international comparisons.