solution: Social Class in the United States Chapter 8 Introduction to Sociology 12e by Henry L. Tischler

Social Class
in the United States

Chapter 8

Introduction to Sociology 12e

by Henry L. Tischler

Learning Objectives

Explain the factors that affect a person’s chances of upward social mobility.

Describe the distribution of wealth and income in the United States.

Summarize the functionalist and conflict theory views of social stratification.

Describe the characteristics of each of the social classes in the United States.

Describe differences in the poverty rate among various groups in American society.

Compare poverty rates in the United States with those of other industrialized countries.

Describe some of the personal and social consequences of a person’s position in the class structure.

Social Class

A category of people who share similar opportunities, economic and vocational positions, lifestyles, and attitudes and behaviors

A system of stratification that has several different divisions and permits social mobility

The American Class Structure

Upper class

Upper-middle class

Middle-middle class

Lower-middle class

Lower class

The Upper Class

Great wealth

Recognize one another by reputation and lifestyle

High prestige and lifestyle

Influence society’s basic economic and political structures

Usually isolate themselves from the rest of society

The Upper-Middle Class

Successful business and professional people and their families

Usually just below the top in an organizational hierarchy, but still command a reasonably high income

Often have a college education, own property, and have a savings reserve

Usually live in comfortable homes in the more exclusive areas of a community, are active in civic groups, and carefully plan for the future

Very likely belong to a church

The Middle-Middle Class

Similar to upper-middle class, lacking in higher income and education

Semi-professional, clerical, upper-level labor

The Lower-Middle Class

Skilled and semi-skilled labor

Assembly, mechanical, and repair work

Most powerfully affected by economic downturn

The Lower Class


Minimal occupational skills / high unemployment rate

Higher incidence of family-related problems

Disproportionate numbers of minorities

Household Income by Quintile, 2015

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Table H-1. Income Limits for Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of All Households: 1967 to 2015 (, accessed July 6th, 2017.


Condition in which people do not have enough money to maintain a standard of living that includes the basic necessities of lie

People living in certain regions of the United States are much more likely to live in poverty than those living elsewhere

The Feminization of Poverty

The feminization of poverty is both not as bad as, and much worse than, the previous statement suggests.

Families headed by divorced mothers are doing better than the numbers suggest, whereas families headed by never-married mothers are doing much worse.

Single mothers without a high school diploma often have difficulty finding a job that pays enough to cover child-care costs, leading to a dependence on welfare programs.

How Do We Count the Poor?

Government-devised index of specific income levels, below which people are considered to be living in poverty

Poverty today is measured based on a 1965 study by an economist at the Social Security, Mollie Orshansky.

Orshansky SSA Measure of Poverty

Orshansky took the cost of a basic, low-cost, nutritionally adequate diet.

She then multiplied it by three, because, at the time, food accounted for a third of a family’s expenses.

Using this formula, these has been little change in the poverty rate since the 1970s.

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rates, 1960–2015

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 and 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplements, accessed July 5th, 2017.

Three Major Criticisms of the Poverty Index

In 1965, about one-quarter of federal welfare benefits were in the form of goods and services.

Poverty measure looks only at income, not at assets. If the value of a home or other assets were included, the poverty rate would also be lower.

The poverty threshold is possibly unrealistically low. Poverty status should be determined by comparing a person’s financial situation with that of the rest of society.

Myths About the Poor

People are poor because they are too lazy to work.

Most poor people are minorities, and most minorities are poor.

Most of the poor are single mothers with children.

Most people in poverty live in the inner cities.

Welfare programs for the poor are straining the federal budget.

The Changing Face of Poverty

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 and 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplements, accessed July 5th, 2017.

The United States has made progress in combating poverty among the elderly but not among other groups.

Consequences of Social Stratification

A sociological issue


A personal issue?

Social Inequality – Functionalist Theory

Functionalism is based on the assumption that the major social structures contribute to the maintenance of the social system.

Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore (1945)

Functionalist Theory of Stratification

As presented by Davis and Moore:

Different positions in society make different levels of contributions to the well-being and preservation of society.

Filling the more complex and important positions in society often requires talent that is scarce and has a long period of training.

Providing unequal rewards ensures that the most-talented and best-trained individuals will fill the roles of greatest importance.

Social Inequality – Conflict Theory

Karl Marx – Theory of Stratification:

Must look at the economic conditions centering around producing the necessities of life.

Stratification emerged from the power struggles for scarce resources.

Marx and the Distribution of Wealth

To each according to need

To each according to want

To each according to what is earned

To each according to what can be obtained – by whatever means

Max Weber – Expansion on Marx

Group conflict is a basic ingredient of society.

People are motivated by self-interest.

Those who do not have property can defend their interests less well than those who have property.

Economic institutions are of fundamental importance in shaping the rest of society.

Those in power promote ideas and values that help them maintain their dominance.

Only when exploitation becomes extremely obvious will the powerless object.

Rejected the notion that conflict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat was the only, or even the most important, conflict relationship in society.

Social Inequality – Conflict Theory

Max Weber – Theory of Stratification:

Three sources of stratification:

Economic class

Social status

Political power

Economic classes arise out of the unequal distribution of economic power, a point on which Marx and Weber agreed

Modern Conflict Theory

Social inequality emerges through the domination of one or more groups by other groups.

Those who are dominated have the potential express resistance and hostility toward those in power.

Those in power will be extremely resistant to any attempts to share their advantages.

What are thought to be the common values of society are really the values of the dominant groups.

Because those in power are engaged in exploitative relationships, they must find mechanisms of social control to keep the masses in line.

Global Stratification

Chapter 9

Introduction to Sociology 12e

by Henry L. Tischler

Learning Objectives

Describe the caste, estate, and class systems of social stratification.

Describe the phenomenon of exponential growth.

Define the three major components of population change.

Contrast the Malthusian and Marxist theories of population.

Summarize the demographic transition model and explain why there might be a second demographic transition.

Discuss the determinants of fertility and family size.

Discuss the problems of overpopulation and possible solutions.

Discuss world health trends.

Understand the trends in global aging.

Stratification Systems

Two methods for stratification:

Ascribed – people can be assigned to societal roles (caste and estate systems)

Achieved – people’s positions in the social hierarchy can be based to some degree on their accomplishments (class system)

The Caste System

Rigid form of stratification, based on ascribed characteristics such as skin color or family identity

Determines a person’s prestige, occupation, residence, and social relationships

The Estate System

A closed system of stratification

Social position is defined by law

Membership is determined primarily by inheritance

A segment of society that has legally established rights and duties

Similar to a caste system, but not as extreme

The Class System

Social class consists of a category of people who share:

Similar opportunities

Similar economic and vocational positions

Similar lifestyles

Similar attitudes and behaviors

Population Dynamics

Demography – study of size and composition of human populations as well as the causes and consequences of changes in these factors. Influenced by:




Demographic Study

Fertility – actual number of births

Fecundity – physiological capability of giving birth

Mortality – frequency of death

Migration – geographic movement of populations

Theories of Population

Malthus (1776–1834) believed population growth is linked to certain natural laws

Preventive checks – practices that would limit reproduction

Positive checks – events that limit reproduction either by causing early death (before reproductive age) or massive death (lowering the overall population)

Theories of Population

Marx believed population growth is linked to industrialization

Need for expanding labor force

Necessity of constant market growth

Problems rooted in economic and political systems

Demographic Transition Theory

Social evolution through four stages

High fertility and high mortality

High birth rate and high death rate

Reduction in death rate due to health and technology advances

Low fertility and low mortality

Birth rate drops; family planning based on evolving norms and beliefs

Death and birth rates remain stable

Global Diversity

Average fertility rate per woman

More-developed countries – 1.7 births

Least-developed countries – 4.5–5.2 births

Percent of resources consumed

World’s richest countries – 20% population,
86% consumption

World’s poorest countries – 80% population,
14% consumption

World Health Trends

The World Health Organization defines health as

“A state of complete mental,
physical, and social well-being.”

The Health of Infants and Children in Developing Countries

Childhood death – overwhelming problem in Africa, Asia, Latin America

Diarrheal dehydration

Acute respiratory infection



Maternal malnutrition


People Living with HIV in
Various World Regions (2016 data)

Eastern and Southern Africa 19,400,000
Western and Central Africa 6,100,000
Asia and the Pacific 5,100,000
Western and Central Europe and North America 2,100,000
Latin America 1,800,000
Eastern Europe and Central Asia 1,600,000
The Caribbean 310,000
Middle East and North Africa 230,000

Population Trends

Growth is huge factor

Stability in pre-agricultural society

Beginnings of growth circa 8000 B.C.

Massive growth 1650 C.E.–present



Advances in science

Population Trends – Current Factors

Child marriage and early marriage


Infant and child mortality

Gender preferences

Benefits and costs of children/large families


Income level

Education of women

Urban or rural residence

Global aging

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more