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# Socioeconomic status in the us

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### Socioeconomic status in the us

1. 1. Socioeconomic status in the U.S.<br />Defining terms and finding oneself in the bigger picture<br />
2. 2. Right now, before you go on:<br />Write down what you believe to be your annual household income on a piece of scrap paper.<br />This isn’t for anyone’s eyes but your own, since talking about one’s money is a bigger taboo in the U.S. than talking about sex or death.<br />Use whatever “household” you would have to use if you were filing a FAFSA form– your parents, if they can still claim you as a dependent for tax purposes.<br />
3. 3. What’s a quintile?<br />A quintile is a fifth of a total group.<br />You’ve heard of percentiles, right? That’s hundredths of a total group.<br />Remember standardized test results? If you scored at the 95th percentile on the ACT or SAT, you scored better than 95% of everyone taking the test.<br />With a range of quantitative data, one can sort the data in sequence and then divide it resulting in an equal number of data points per group. <br />
4. 4. So imagine all households in the U.S. divided up into five sets with equal numbers of households per set.<br />
5. 5. The households have been sorted from those with the lowest annual income to those with the highest annual income.<br />
6. 6. If we want to discuss how socioeconomic status (SES) relates to health, it would be helpful to define terms for describing categories of people.<br />
7. 7. Take a moment and sketch this table on your scrap paper. Label the SES quintiles with terms you’d be comfortable using in class discussions.<br />
8. 8. Now make an X in the quintile within which you believe your annual household income falls. How do you believe yours compares to most households in the U.S.?<br />
9. 9. Let’s see how your labels and estimates compare with 2009 data:<br />
10. 10. In other words,<br />20% of households in the U.S. were getting by on less than \$21,000/year in 2009.<br />Only 20% of households in the U.S. bring in six figure incomes or higher– and that’s counting the income of all adults in the household.<br />
11. 11. Keep in mind, too:<br />People who do not live in households– the homeless, incarcerated, and otherwise institutionalized– are omitted from the data.<br />Most people who are homeless, incarcerated, and otherwise institutionalized have essentially no income.<br />A sizable portion of the U.S. population exists beyond the left (poorest) category on our graph.<br />
12. 12. Census data on household income:<br />http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/hhinc/new05_000.htm<br />