Socioeconomic Status and Segregation

Topics: Social stratification, Sociology, Socioeconomic status Pages: 2 (398 words) Published: October 16, 2013

In our society today, social class and stratification both play huge roles in how individuals and groups alike interact and function amongst each another. According to Parrillo, social stratification is the hierarchical classification of the members of society based on the unequal distribution of resources, power and prestige. (Parrillo, 2012) Parrillo illustrates the term social class by stating, it designates people’s place in the stratification hierarchy, identifying those in each grouping who share similar levels of income, status, property, power and types of lifestyle.

Social class is stratified by racial and ethnic groups in many ways but often times seen through residential segregation. Residential segregation is defined as the physical separation of cultural groups based on residence and housing according to the Department of Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles. (UCLA, 2011) The socioeconomic status (SES) of an individual affects housing options and their ability to reside just anywhere. Someone with a low socioeconomic status cannot afford the same housing options as one with a higher SES. Another example that ultimately stems from residential segregation is the issue of education attainment. Pat Rubio Goldsmith in his article gives information that residential segregation and educational attainment are closely related. He gives data that explains the idea that better residential areas often times have better school districts while other areas with lower SES residents have underprivileged schools. This directly affects the life path of children who life in underprivileged communities and strongly supports class stratification. Underprivileged children are less likely to seek opportunities for upward mobility due to various reasons, some being the lack of support from their ethnic group, parental SES and/or the necessity to work and contribute to the family unit. (Goldsmith, 2009)

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