Social Class In America

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1. “The rich and the middle class are now living in parallel universes, and the poor are almost invisible to both” (Marger “American Class System”). This is a quote by Robert Reich and it shows that social class and income are important in the United States and that we use it to base our lives. Just like race and gender, class is a sociological concept that puts people into specific groups with people that are like them. Social class can be defined as grouping people into a category who share roughly the same income, wealth, occupation, and educational levels. Early in life people are taught to understand the division of people and where they fall in the class system. There are three main aspects of class- income and wealth, occupational prestige, …show more content…
Max Weber refers to it as a subculture and that income and lifestyle are interdependent. If people want to have nice things and go on vacations, they have to have the income to be able to support it.
The United States class system is broken up into six different layers- upper or capitalists, upper-middle, lower-middle, working, working poor, and underclass. The upper or capitalist class accounts for less than one percent of people in the United States. These people earn more than $1,000,000. These people have at least four years of college or more and have occupations like investors and corporate executives. They do not receive most of their money from salaries or wages, but from return on investments such as stocks or bonds. On the other hand, some people may inherit their wealth when a family member dies or a trust fund. The upper-middle class makes up about 18-20% of the people in the United States and earn $80,000-$1,000,000. These people have at least four years of college or postgraduate training and have occupations like upper-level managers, professionals, and business owners. They are well above average and are important to the functioning of society’s institutions like government and education. This social class can
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This allowed the standard of living to go up and began to close the gap between the rich and the poor, but that came to an end in the 1970’s. For the first time since the Great Depression, families were on average worse off than they ever were before. In the twenty-first century income inequality began to pick up speed again. The only reason middle-class families were able to live was due to them working more hours. When productivity starting increasing in the 1980’s, the upper class began getting more wealth and not much was going to different classes. Due to the increase in productivity, the wage gap expanded more in the 2000’s due to federal tax policies that benefited the people at the top of the income scale. Another thing that hurt every social class, but pushed the lower social class even farther down was when the financial system suffered greatly. The housing market collapsed and consumer demand went down which declined the labor market. More than 7 million jobs were lost between 2008 and 2009. “In sum, at the onset of the twenty-first century, the American class structure appears to have evolved into a three-part configuration, with the rich taking the bulk of income and wealth, the poor receiving little, and those in the middle scrambling to maintain their standard of living” (Marger “American Class System”). Income and wealth are two

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