Social Classes in the United States
Social classes in the United States are people with similar social status, wealth, and education. Although the division into social classes is very conventional, in reality, no one doubts the stratification of the U.S. population into different class categories. Indeed, in America, there is no formal division of society into classes, unlike in many European countries such as Great Britain (Hey & Grimaldi, 1). The absence of legal class divisions reflects Western society’s desire to reinforce its belief in the world-famous American dream, which is easily achieved with an entrepreneurial spirit and hard work. There is currently a number of models of dividing society into social classes in the United States. It is no longer about the standard triad – rich, middle, and poor; their typology is much more complex. This theme of social classes in the United States will be the subject of the research. There are at least three reasons why this topic is worth discussing.
Firstly, the social inequality of a country’s citizens hinders economic development. High social inequality limits the development of the consumer market and constrains domestic demand (UN News, 2). Therefore, the need to reduce inequality should be considered in the development strategies of each country. The economy is more stable in those countries where low-income segments of society have wide access to credit. If a country’s financial markets work well, everyone can access credit and invest the money they earn. Social stratification also discourages tax increases, which affects the size of GDP.
Secondly, inequality is a form of unfair treatment between people or groups. Inequality is multifaceted and manifests itself both at work, in the family, and at the state level. Accordingly, in the case of unequal distribution of goods among the inhabitants, it can be argued that their rights will not be the same either. To allow this would be to admit that the basic principle of a democratic state like the United States is not being implemented.
Thirdly, a person’s level of satisfaction with their life depends on how much income they have. The strong social stratification characteristic of contemporary American society reproduces a system of inequality and injustice (Siripurapu, 3). Opportunities for independent self-fulfillment and improvement of social status are limited for quite a large part of the country’s population. The working class makes up about 45 percent of the population, and the poor about 13 percent (Snider & Kerr, 4). Accordingly, more than half of the population has to feel less satisfied than their wealthier fellow citizens. Large numbers of migrants and homeless people can be seen in major U.S. cities today (Tsai & Gu, 5). In no European country can one find as many vagrants on the street as in the United States.
American society today is characterized by social inequality, the gap between the poor and the rich is enormous, and as in many countries, inequality has gone to extremes. It has become evident in many government decisions, from monetary policy to budgetary allocations. America has long been regarded as a country of equal opportunities. There are, indeed, many opportunities, but they are not always equal. These phenomena can seriously destabilize the domestic and international political situation. Acute problems of social inequality are fraught with increasing social tensions, crime, mortality, and economic instability. A nation like the United States needs to prevent inequality from continuing to grow and degrade its people’s quality of life.
Ana Paula Hey and Anna Isabella Grimaldi, 2019, New class divisions? Elites and the precariat at the extremes of social class in the UK, Web.
It is a scholarly article on the cultural and economic characteristics of the different classes and the social hierarchy in Britain as a whole.
UN News, 2020, Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report, Web.
This is a United Nations report on the impact of inequality on the economic development of countries and ways to overcome it.
Anshu Siripurapu, 2020, The U.S. inequality debate, Web.
This online article describes how inequality can be reduced and how it expands during the coronavirus pandemic.
Susannah Snider and Emma Kerr, 2021, Where do I fall in the American economic class system, Web.
The article describes how a person’s income affects his belonging to a particular social class.
J. Tsai and X. Gu, 2019, Homelessness among immigrants in the United States: rates, correlates, and differences compared with native-born adults, Web.
The article describes the number of homeless people among immigrants on the streets of the United States.