Presentation on theme: "Social Class in the United States Dimensions of Social Inequality Social Classes in the United States The Difference Class Makes Poverty in the."— Presentation transcript:
Social Class in the United States Dimensions of Social Inequality Social Classes in the United States The Difference Class Makes Poverty in the United States Explaining Poverty
Dimensions of Social Inequality Income- wages or salary from work and earnings from investments. Wealth- the total value of money and other assets, minus outstanding debts. Wealth includes stocks, bonds, and real estate— is distributed even less equally than income. Occupational Prestige In addition to being a source of income, work also provides social prestige. We commonly evaluate each other according to the kind of work we do, respecting some and looking down on others.
Schooling Industrial societies make schooling widely available to prepare workers for specialized tasks. Schooling affects both occupation and income; a college degree or other advanced study is needed for most (but not all) of the better-paying white- collar jobs. Most blue-collar jobs, which bring lower income and social prestige, require less schooling.
Ancestry Family is our point of entry into the social system and has a strong bearing in schooling, occupation, and income. Research suggests that at least half of our country’s richest individuals—those worth hundreds of millions of dollars or more –derived their fortunes mostly from inheritance. Religion Episcopalians and Presbyterians have significantly higher social standing, on average, than Lutherans and Baptists. Jews also have high social standing and Roman Catholics hold a more modest position.
Social Classes in the United States The Upper Class 5% of the population Upper-Uppers People who have inherited wealth are known as Blue Bloods or “society,” includes less than 1 percent of society. Lower-Uppers Appear to be just as privileged but have newly acquired wealth, the main difference is that these people are the “working rich.”
The Middle Class 40-45% of the population Upper-Middles 80,000 to 160,000 a year Average-Middles 40,000-80,000 a year Typically work in less prestigious white-collar occupations: middle management, high-school teachers, and sales clerks, or in highly skilled blue-collar jobs, such as a building contractor.
The Working Class 25,000-40,000 a year 1/3 of the population This population is somewhat below the national average, and they have little or no wealth. The Lower Class Low income makes this population unstable and insecure. In 2000, the federal government classified 31.1 million people as poor.
The Difference Class Makes Health Children born into poor families are three times more likely to die from disease, neglect, accidents, or violence during their first years of life than children born to rich families.
Values With their birthright privileges, upper-uppers also favor understated manners and tastes, whereas many “new rich,” practice conspicuous consumption, buying things they know others will notice. They use clothes, homes and cares to make statements about their social position. Affluent people with more college education and financial security also are more tolerant of controversial behaviors such as homosexuality. Working class people, who are use to greater supervision and discipline in their formative years and have less education, tend to be less tolerant.
Politics In general the more privileged people support the Republican Party and the people with fewer advantages support the Democrats. A desire to protect their wealth prompts well-off people to be more conservative in economic issues, favoring lower taxes. But on social issues such as abortion and feminist concerns, the more educated and affluent are more liberal. People of lower social standing favor expanding government social programs, but support a more conservative social agenda.
Family and Gender Most lower-class families are somewhat larger than middle class families because of earlier marriage and less use of birth control.
Poverty in the United States Social stratification creates both “have” and “have-nots.” All systems of social inequality create poverty, or at least relative poverty,- the deprivation of some people in relation to those who have more. A more serious but preventable problem is... absolute poverty,- a deprivation of resources that is life threatening.
The Extent of U.S. Poverty The line of poverty is described as-the income needed “to purchase a nutritionally adequate diet on the assumption that no more than a third of the family income is used for food.”
Age The elderly now have a poverty rate below the national average because of better retirement programs from private employers and better government benefits. About 11% of the poor are elderly people. Today the burden of poverty falls most heavily on children. The problem of poverty contributes to the high infant mortality rate, a measure of how likely children are to survive their first year of life.
Race and Ethnicity Two-thirds of al poor people are white; 25 percent are African Americans. Gender and Family Patterns Of all poor people over age eighteen, 61% are women and 39 % are men. The term feminization of poverty- describes the trend by which women represent an increasing proportion of the poor.
Explaining Poverty People counted among the officially poor in the United States are far better off than the poor in other countries. Millions of people in the United States have too little income to lead healthy lives. Almost 42 percent straddle the fence, thinking both government and individuals share this responsibility.
Blame the Poor This view sees society offering plenty of opportunity to anyone able and willing to take advantage of it. Thus, anyone who is poor either cannot of will not work. Blame Society Another position holds that society is primarily responsible for poverty. Weighing the Evidence Many people are idle not because they are avoiding work but because there are not enough jobs.
The Working Poor The working poor command the sympathy and support of people on both sides of the poverty debate. Twenty percent of poor heads of households worked at least fifty weeks of the year and yet could not escape poverty.