Factors That Influence Human Development

Topics: Culture, Human, Sociology Pages: 5 (1662 words) Published: October 2, 2012
In your own words, what role does socioeconomic status, cultural context, and ethnicity play in development (show examples of each)?

In our day and time, socioeconomic status, cultural context, and ethnicity play a huge role in human development. Human development begins while in the womb and at birth and continues through life heavily depending on these particular factors. These factors determine how a person communicates, works, looks, and chooses to live their daily lives. People are individuals and therefore, are all different people and will develop in different ways all depending on the influence of these three things in their lives.

The first factor that influences human development is a person’s socioeconomic status. This indicates a person’s position in society as determined by income, wealth, occupation, education, and place of residence. As a child, socioeconomic status has a big effect on the way a child is raised and the opportunities available to him/her. Children that come from high socioeconomic status families typically are more successful because they have more resources readily available to their children. They are able to afford high-quality childcare, education, and healthcare. Their children are also typically more involved in recreational sports and extra-curricular activities broadening their children’s horizons and talents. Children that are raised in low socioeconomic families lack the financial, educational, and social support that would make them feel equal to children from higher social standing families. These feelings of unease and not fitting in can lead to low confidence and low motivation. Children have to live with these feelings and the circumstances they were born into until they become adults and can make their own livings. Anyone is capable of overcoming his or her circumstances! When children grow up, they get to decide how far they want to take their education and what type of career field they want to go into as well as where and how they will choose to fit into modern day society.

Cultural context is also a large factor that shapes a person’s development. Culture is defined as the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. Culture affects the way we dress, what we eat, what we believe, and even the way we think about life and make decisions. I think that culture is beginning to play a larger role in development as our country begins to grow exponentially with the number or foreign immigrants making this nation their home. Different cultures are beginning to merge together making their heritage and beliefs that much more important in the hearts of their people as they grow and develop into adults. For example, a Muslim or Hindu individual will celebrate certain holidays very differently than a Catholic or Christian individual. A person’s cultural beliefs and traditions have an affect on their everyday lives, and those things will be passed down through generations. One example of a culturally taught idea here in America is the typical “American Dream” that we, as American children, have been taught through childhood and youth. From an early age, we were taught and told that with hard work, determination, and never giving up on a dream, our opportunities would be endless. Culture is another huge factor on human development.

According to the textbook, there is some confusion regarding the differences between race and ethnicity. Ethnicity or an ethnic group is defined as a people whose ancestors were born in the same region and who often share a language, culture, and religion. Race is defined as a group of people who are regarded by themselves or by others as distinct from other groups on the bases of physical appearance. Race can definitely be a misleading concept though. I think ethnicity and culture are very different things, but definitely go hand in hand pertaining to...
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