The Americans are stratified into different social classes based on their level of education, wealth, and their respective occupations. Social class is the hierarchical groupings of people based on educational attainment, social network, income, and occupation. The issue of social class in the United States has always been a controversial topic that has attracted the attention of several researchers. Most Americans recognize the three-class model that comprises of the upper class, the middle class, and the working class. However, some social scientists have denied the three-class model and have come up with other social classes. In spite of the debate, most scholars are in agreement of the existence of social class in the US where there is a hierarchical ranking of people.
The researchers who are opposed to the three-class model have developed a six social class model. This model comprises of the upper-upper class, lower upper class, upper middle class, lower middle class, the poor working class and the underclass. The majority of the US population belongs to the lower middle class totaling to 26% of the total population. The upper-upper class comprises only of 1% of the US total population. The upper-upper class consists of individuals who earn billions of dollars annually. This model of social class has gained wide acceptance in the US. However, it does consider other variations such as level of education and occupation of an individual in the society. It only accounts for income as the major determinant used in grouping people into different social classes. The six model social class assumes that those who earn high incomes have a substantial level, robust networks, and top occupations.
Another model of social class in the United States asserts that the upper class controls the majority of resources in the country. They own and control most corporations and the political institutions. Most of them have risen to their current positions because of their personal accomplishment. They comprise of the corporate elite class who are mostly the stockholders and CEOs of major corporations. Other occupations that belong to this type of social class include the lawyers, professors, and engineers. Most of them hold high esteemed positions in both public and private sectors. The middle comprises of the majority of the population, and most of them are middle-level managers. They hold professional positions which are relatively of low status. Most of them include owners of small businesses and those who teach in high school. The working class comprises of people who have not attained college degrees. Most of them work as sales clerks, housecleaners’, service workers among other professionals that do not require skilled professionals. Most of them live below the poverty line.
The class culture also influences the social class in the United States. Class culture affects the way people live and their young ones. The class culture involves how people maintain their relationships and the color of paints they use to decorate their houses. Most individuals in the United States associate with those whom they share a common understanding. This has strengthened the social differences more. In most cases, you will find those who belong to the lower class relates only with the counterparts. However, it is possible for someone to move from lower class to middle class depending on their personal accomplishments. If a person from the lower class attains a high-status job as a result of his or her educational qualifications he can move to the middle class.
There are various things I have learned about social class in the United States. The most important ones are the nature and characteristics of the social class, social stratification and social equality among the various categories of people. Social inequality in the society is the primary cause of the hierarchical grouping of people in the community. People will be categorized into different classes depending on their level of income. Those who earn more income ascribes to a different social class compared to those who earn a low income. Besides, it is also possible for one to move from lower class to upper class because of personal accomplishments. Those who belong to the lower class and have been able to attain a high level of education and get high-status jobs can move to the upper class. These people can be successful in their career and middle-level managers and high school teachers.
The working class or the lower class has the most difficult economic situation. These people live below the poverty index. Most of them are not skilled since they have not attained college degrees. As such, they cannot get any high –status job. They always languish in poverty and cannot send their children to colleges because of lack of adequate finance. Besides, they cannot afford quality healthcare and other social services. These people are economically hard hit that some may not even afford three meals in a day taking into consideration of the high cost of living in the United States.