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Sociologists have labeled six classes that exist in the United States:
1) Upper Class 2) Upper Middle Class 3) Lower Middle Class 4) Working Class 5) Working Poor 6) Underclass
Social Class Divisions The Upper Class 1% of the population Education Level: Prestigious Universities
Owners of large businesses
Heirs to family fortunes
Top Business Executives
Income = MILLIONS!
Old $$$ vs. New $$$ Old Money = wealth that has been in the family for generations (born into, inherit) Ex: The Kennedy’s, Rockefeller’s, Vanderbilt’s New Money = newly rich, acquired their money through own efforts rather than inheritance. (Not as prestigious, but can still buy it) Ex: Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan
There are currently 371 billionaires in the United States.
You are twice as likely to be struck by lightning than you are of becoming a billionaire.
Social Class Divisions Upper Middle Class 10% of population Education Level: College/ University Degree Occupation: High income business people, professionals Membership based on income, not assets (career oriented) Influence in community, not nationally. Income: $100,000-$250,000
Social Class Divisions Lower Middle Class 20% of the population Education Level: High School, some College Occupation: White collar workers (management, supervisors, sales) Income: $50,000- $100,000 They live well, but have to work to keep their way of life and position in society.
Social Class Divisions The Working Class 20% of the population Education Level: High school diploma Occupation: Blue Collar or Manual labor jobs (factory workers, tradespeople, low service jobs) Income: $30,000- $50,000 They work very hard and often do not have much reserve to deal with extra expenses.
Social Class Divisions The Working Poor 45% of the population Education Level: Some high school, (often dropouts) Occupation: Lowest paying jobs, (housecleaning, minimum wage jobs, migrants) Income: less than $30,000 They rarely make a living wage.
Social Class Divisions The Underclass 3% of the population Education Level: some high school Occupation: some work, but it is undesirable, experienced unemployment and poverty over several generations. They require public assistance to survive. 50% move up to a higher class.
Types of Jobs/ Salaries The divide b/t rich and poor: Bill Gates = $50 billion net worth Dave Matthews= $28 million/ yr. Jerry Seinfeld = $98 million/yr. Tyra Banks= $14 million/ yr. Lawyer= $98,930/ yr. Firefighter= $39,090/ yr. Janitor= $19,390/ yr. Cashier= $16,260/ yr.
Social Mobility How can you move between or within the classes? 1) Horizontal- movement within a social class to a job of equal social ranking (doesn’t change status) 2) Vertical- movement up or down classes that changes a person’s social standing 3) Intergenerational- a status change in a family between generations.
Social Mobility Factors that affect upward mobility: - Individual Effort - Technology shifts - Education Level Factors that affect downward mobility: - Illness - Divorce - Retirement - Technology changes - Low Unemployment- lack of quality jobs in field
31 million or 11% of Americans live below the poverty level.
Poverty- standard of living that is below the minimum level considered adequate by society. (varies by society)
**What is poor in US, may be comfortable living in another country. (Due to differences in standard of living)
Poverty US Census- defines poverty as: minimum annual amount of income needed to survive The poverty line is established by: calculating the cost of an adequate diet (USDA standards) and multiplying that by 3 (1/3 of income is spent on food) In 2000, 1 Person = $8,794 2 People = $11,239 3 People = $13,738 4 People = $17, 603 5 People = $20,819
Poverty States with the largest rates of poverty (over 15%):
Age: Children most likely group to be in poverty (37%)
Sex: Women more likely than men (57%)
Race and Ethnicity- African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be poor in the US.
11% of total White population are poor.
26.5% of total African American population are poor.
27.1% of total Hispanic population are poor.
Poverty Patterns of Behavior More likely to be divorced. More likely to be arrested, convicted and sent to prison. (commit crimes that police pursue more- burglary, auto theft) More likely to be victims of crimes.
Poverty Government Response to Poverty: - 1960’s, LBJ declared a “War on Poverty” - Increased social welfare programs to aid the poor.
Two methods of assisting the poor:
Giving tax money to groups to assist the needy.
--TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)
Giving goods to those who are poor.
-- Food stamp/ LINK program (Giving a card or coupon in exchange for food.
Poverty Welfare A program designed in the 1980’s to aid those who could not afford a living wage. Financial assistance is given to recipients in the form of money and goods (such as food) to those who are in need. Initially, it created a “welfare class”, a group of people who refused to find work and lived off the government until 1996. Limits were put into effect that required welfare recipients to find work within in a two year period. **the number of recipients has decreased from 14.1million in 1993 to 6.3 million in 1999.
Poverty Welfare (con’t) Some Barriers to getting off of welfare: - very poor mental or physical health - education less than high school - last worked three or more years ago - has an infant - Spanish interview Those reporting barriers: NONE = 22.9 ONE = 33.3 TWO = 43.8