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1 7. Social and Economic Inequality in the USA The United States is a capitalist country which allows for rich and poor. The opportunity to become rich.

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Presentation on theme: "1 7. Social and Economic Inequality in the USA The United States is a capitalist country which allows for rich and poor. The opportunity to become rich."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 7. Social and Economic Inequality in the USA The United States is a capitalist country which allows for rich and poor. The opportunity to become rich is part of the American Dream. Many Americans believe in the American Dream and there are thousands of people who have achieved. However, for every ‘winner’ there are many more ‘losers’. The USA is a country with a strong capitalist ethic and favours minimal state intervention. This section of the course will look at the huge inequalities in US society, especially as they affect ethnic minority groups. Learning Intentions (Pupils should be able to): Provide evidence of social and economic inequality between the majority White population and the ethnic minority groups in terms of employment, income/wealth and poverty levels.

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3 3 Social and Economic Inequality in the USA Compared to other developed countries, the USA is a very unequal society. According to the UN, the Gini coefficient (which gives a measure of wealth or income inequality within a country) for the USA is 40.8 (and rising; UK 36). What this means is that the richest people in the USA have, on average, a far greater share of the total income or wealth than the poorest people. Indicators of Inequality in Society: Economic inequality can be measured in terms of income, poverty levels and employment/ unemployment levels. Social inequality can be measured in terms of crime, housing (ownership, value), health (life expectancy, mortality rates, etc.) and educational attainment.

4 4 Social and Economic Inequality in the USA CHIPHEECHIPHEE Crime Housing Income Poverty Health Education Employment One way to remember information is through the use of a mnemonic. This is were the first letter of a group of words are strung together to make a new ‘reminder’ word.

5 5 Social and Economic Inequality in the USA There are three main minority groups Hispanics, Blacks and Asians of which information is widely available. In this part of the course we will examine the success of minority groups compared to the majority White population. Unemployment Rates April 2011 WhitesHispanicsBlacks Asians 9.0% 12.5%16.5% 6.8% Employment Rates April 2011 WhitesHispanicsBlacks Asians 68.2% 67.7%62.7% 65.5%

6 6 Social and Economic Inequality in the USA Wealth is all a person has including money in the bank, land, property, shares, etc. Income is a person’s earnings. In 2009 the average household income by ethnic group was: Whites $65,317Blacks $40,685Hispanic $45,817 Asians $76,747 There is a debate in the USA about where the poverty line should be drawn but it is generally accepted that poverty rates in the US are higher than elsewhere in the developed world. In 2007, 39.1m Americans were in poverty (12.6%) In 2010, according to official figures the percentage of adults in poverty by ethnic group was: Whites 8.6%Blacks 24.7% Hispanics 23.2% Asians 11.8%

7 Poverty in the USA Official measure of poverty is the Federal Poverty Line. It is estimated that around 40% of Americans find themselves in poverty. The National Centre in Poverty reported that 13 million American children were living in families with incomes below the official federal level. Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to be living in poverty therefore experience more social and economic inequality compared to either Asian or White Americans.

8 Poverty in the USA Reasons for the high levels of poverty are different. Black Americans have suffered systematic and long-term discrimination and have faced barriers to progress, and have fallen victim to the poverty cycle. Black Community Level of black poverty has steadily decreased over the years. However, black Americans do still experience greater inequality than white Americans or any other ethnic group. This has resulted in a Black “underclass” living in ghettos where they find it more difficult to get a proper education, employment, health and even justice in the law courts. This has led to a rise in crime and substance abuse. Biggest group reliant on welfare.

9 Black Middle Class There has been a rise in a black middle class as there has been better access to education. Today many black Americans are moving into better homes and. Housing barriers are gradually disappearing- no more ‘white flight’. Many have integrated into white neighbourhoods, no feeling of social exclusion, and there has also been the development of black middle class neighbourhoods. Areas of Atlanta and Los Angeles are thriving black middle class areas.

10 Case Study: Black Middle Class Queens district of New York is home to black middle class families whose average income was higher than that of white families in the same area. This was largely due to the growth of two-parent families. Today middle-class black Americans are well established as a separate community and do not have to live side by side with lower income black Americans - those that are left behind in the Ghetto, left to deal with drugs, violence and crime.

11 Hispanic Poverty The reasons for poverty amongst Hispanics is different. Mainly due to immigration from South and Central America. Poverty levels are not equally distributed amongst the Hispanic groups. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans have higher poverty levels than Cubans. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans represent the economic migrants who are in search of the American Dream, whereas Cubans have a strong tradition of being successful in Business.

12 Essay Practice To what extent do ethnic minorities achieve the American Dream? Write an introduction and the first paragraph. Paragraph should be on poverty (One of the “Es” from CHIP HEE!) 12

13 13 Questions 1.What does the Gini co-efficient measure? 2.Explain the mnemonic CHIP HEE. 3.What conclusion can be drawn from the graph on Slide 3? 4. Make one conclusion about minority groups compared to the White population for each of the tables on Slides 4 and “Whites do better than all minority groups in every indicator of social and economic inequality. Shannon Harte. To what extent is Shannon selective in her use of facts? Explain your answer with statistics. Reading: Pulse: ‘International Issues’ pages or Leckie and Leckie: ‘Course Notes’ pages Social and Economic Inequality in the USA


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