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Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 1

Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue

Trang Fay

Axia College of University of Phoenix

Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 2

Social inequality is not a new subject; it is a perpetual matter in society

especially in modern society. Race, social class, and gender are blamed for social inequality.

Some people are rich at the minute they were born. Some people work hard their whole lives and

they are still poor. Is inequality really a problem for society? The answer is yes, however there

are many positive consequences which society benefits from social inequality. For example, the

high living standard which we are enjoying today is one of the results from social inequality.

Because people live in the modern society which are highly competitive, people must be

productive to adapt to society. As a result, society benefits from the effort of people. Minority is

another issue of society also. In the United States, minorities are powerless compared to the

dominants. Minorities include African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and women. Their incomes

are always lower compared to the Whites, especially white men. However, minorities in the U.S.

are gradually increasing their shares in the society.

How was social inequality different from time to time – preindustrial and postindustrial?

There was inequality in the preindustrial time; however it was not complex and critical like in the

postindustrial time. Although America did not have a caste system like in Europe, nevertheless

social inequality still existed between races (black/color and white), and status (freeman and

slave). Slaves did not have their rights. They underwent the abuses and could be killed without

the protection of the laws whereas freeman and white people were protected by laws. They

enjoyed their rights and the privilege of freedom. White people controlled most of the economy

whereas slave people worked for foods and shelters without wages.

The gradually developing of industrial and increasing of population has changed society
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from “traditional” to “modern” society significantly. Society becomes more complex and

cohesive. Inequality appears in every aspect of society like social classes, education, political,

economic, health care, and so forth. In modern society, rewards are incentive for people to be

more productive. Capitalism is a core of modern society in the United States which leads to

inequality in the society. There is no such a thing that people get the same share whether they are

productive or not. Many countries apply the social equal theory and they failed. Productive

society does not work that way. People get their shares depending on their performances. This

incentive forces people work harder and be more efficiently. These factors stimulate society

functioning more effectively.

For example, more new jobs required higher skills and education. Labor works are

gradually replaced by services and trade. Urbanization was formed by migrants from other

countries, and from rural areas. Living standards increased. People enjoy the comforts of life.

Life expectancy increases compared to our ancestors thanks to the scientists. Besides all these

benefits which come from the social inequality there are some negative consequences from

social inequality also.

Ancestry, race, and gender cause inequality in the United States. Social classes are

divided in four classes which are the upper class, middle class, working class, and lower class.

The upper class makes up about 5 percent of the U.S population however they control most of

the economy. Most of them are of the white race. Their incomes either inherit from their ancestry

or from earning. They live in the most luxurious standard of living. Middle class makes up about

forty percent of the U.S population. They are white collar workers. White collar workers refer to
Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 4

educated workers such as professors, doctors, managers, administrators, and so forth. Those

people who work in these fields are considered as middle class, which make up about forty

percent of the U.S. population. In this class, race is more diverse than the upper class.

Working class – blue collar workers make up one-third of U.S. population. Their jobs are

mostly manual works which require less education compared to the white collar jobs. Their

incomes are below the national average. They live in their paycheck month-by-month. They also

do not get many benefits, medical insurance for instance. They live in lower-cost neighborhoods.

The lower class makes up 20 percent of U.S population. They barely make enough money to

support themselves. Wages are very low with little or no benefits. Both working class and lower

class are mostly Hispanics, African Americans, and other minorities.

Why is social class one of the reasons for inequality? The first reason is education

inequality. The children from higher incomes get the best schools and are well prepared to go to

the well-known universities. They also have more opportunities after they finish their degrees.

Therefore, their jobs are mostly well paid and they hold mostly high positions. While poor

children, their parents struggle to keep the families survive. College goals are not their priority or

likely “we talk about it later.” Poor children are less prepared to go to college; moreover they

cannot afford to get in the good colleges. Many of them drop out of college before they finish.

Even after they finish, they have fewer opportunities to find a high pay job or high position.

Moreover, their jobs are not very secure compared to the top college graduated students. They

are the first target to be laid off if the companies are in a critical time.

The second reason for social inequality is income inequality. As the result of less
Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 5

education, their incomes barely cover their basic needs such as food, housing, car, and health

care. So if anything happens to them like lay-off, or if they get sick which is out of their finance

balance, they live in debt. The third reason is health care inequality. Lacking of nutrition and

education about diet and exercise as the high class have, most poor people are overweight. They

face many serious health problems. Because they do not have health insurance, they usually do

not go to the doctor until they face a matter of life and death.

The process of poverty keeps circling. They are poor because they cannot get high paying

jobs. They cannot get the high paying jobs because they cannot afford to go to the good schools.

That is all they see in their world from generation to generation is poverty and desperation.

Gradually, they see it as a culture of poverty. Because of that, they never try hard enough to be

more ambition that could help them to get out of poverty. Unintended, they maintain their

repeated pattern of poverty from generation to generation. Race and gender are other factors that

cause the inequality also. African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians make less than white

people. Women make less than men especially minority women like African Americans,

Hispanics, indigenous, and Asians. Glass-ceiling is the barrier for the women to get high position


Income inequality results in health inequality also. Higher income families can afford

nutrition food, health insurance, exercise, and less pressure. Their life expectancy is longer and

they have less health problems than the poor people. Even if their lives are in danger they still

have more chance to survive. In contrast, the poor people cannot afford healthy food, and good

health services. They do not go to see the doctor if their lives are not in danger. If they have
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health issues like heart disease for instance, they do not have much chance to get surgery or

implants. Moreover, the stress from struggling to survive makes their lives even harder.

Therefore, their life expectancy is shorter than rich people.

“For all age groups, children from higher-income families are more likely than those in

other income groups to be in excellent or very good health. Among children from birth to age

three, for example, fewer than 75 percent of those with family incomes less than $10,000 a year

were in excellent or very good health, as against more than 90 percent of children with family

incomes greater than $100,000. The relationship between health and income is apparent

throughout the income range: middle-income children are healthier than lower-income children,

and upper-income children are healthier than middle-income children.” (Case. A & Paxson. C

(2006) Children’s health and social mobility p. 153 p.p.2)

Is inequality inevitable? Once the society attains the certain complexity, it has to continue

growing because the competition among societies, and the desirability of social change to

improve the quality of life for the vast majority of people. In the modern society, capitalism

dominants economics as a whole is a core to keep the society growing. It only focuses on the

profitable. Rewards are the incentives for people to work harder for the best results. The more

human beings enjoy the high standard of living, the more desire they have. Moreover, the

population increases and continues increasing to serve the vast of majorities of people society

must be more productively. Equality in society does not co-exist with capitalism in the modern

society. Most countries which use socialism as a platform to run the countries have failed. It is

because the unproductive nature of the performance. Lacking of incentive is the major reason
Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 7

which leads to being less productive in the socialism.

As we know, social class distinguishes which level people belong to, however, being rich

or poor depends much on the efficiency of performing of people also. Social mobility is another

natural characteristic of capitalism. Social mobility is a change in social class of people over a

single life-time. Social mobility is either upward or downward depending on personal choice.

The poor people, if they work hard and are more ambitious they move up in their class. For

example, if a poor person works hard to get a college degree and get a high-paying job, he/she

contributes to upward social mobility. A rich person drops out school, getting low-paying job

he/she contributes to downward social mobility. The American dream still exists if we want to

make it come true, however it is not easy like it was.

The United States is a diverse country. There are four distinctive races which are White,

Black, Hispanic, and Asian. Since the first society was formed white people have dominated the

society even today. Black, Hispanic, and Asian people are minorities. Most people of minority

are poor, with limited schooling, and powerless. Minorities in the United States have a long

history. To get where they are at today, they had to overcome discrimination, racism,

segregation, and especially slavery. Despite discrimination and the glass-ceiling that still exists

in the United State, the minorities gradually enter the White world. For example, Oprah Winfrey

– the talk show. She was born into poverty and experienced a hard childhood. Today, she is one

of the black billionaires.

“In 1960 the share of white male workers in professional and managerial occupations was

3.5 times that of black male workers; by 2000 that ratio had fallen to 1.7. The standard of living
Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 8

of blacks in America today is greatly improved not only as measured against earlier generations

of blacks, but also relative to whites.” (Kearney. S. M. (2006) P. 38 p.p. 4)

In general, social inequality in the United States is a norm to be productive. The more

wealthy people are the more power they get. The more power people have, the better chance they

make more money. This factor maintains the inequality of society. The consequences of social

inequality are positive and negative. Higher living standard, higher income, higher education,

and longer life expectancy benefits from society. Coming along with the benefits of social

inequality, there are some non-benefits which are poverty, class stratification, health care

inequality, divorce rate increasing, and so on. The level of inequality changes from time-to-time

and from a society to another society. The United States is making an effort which reduces the

inequality by supporting education for the poor people. Social inequality is inevitable and

Final Project: Analyze a Sociological Issue 9


(Case. A & Paxson. C., (2006). Children’s health and social mobility. Retrieved May 2, 2010,


Kearney. S. M (2006). Intergenerational mobility for women and minorities in the United States.

Retrieved May 2, 2010, from

Pakulski. J (2008). Social equality and inequality. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from

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