The main source of social inequality is the unequal distribution of wealth in a society. Socioeconomic status is linked to education, health, and other life outcomes. Low-income people tend to have lower educational and occupational outcomes than high-income ones. They also report poorer overall health. The corresponding social inequalities in health are often worse for women and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, low-income people are less likely to be aware of healthy lifestyles and health risks.
The persistence of these mechanisms is crucial to understanding social inequalities. Human beings are driven by self-interest. As a result, some are more successful in the competition for resources and wealth. This is because the objects of our striving are in short supply, and some people are better equipped than others. Various societal institutions and cultural factors also fix social inequalities.
Despite the rise of knowledge-based economies, lower social classes have fewer life opportunities. Their health is more likely to be poor and they are more likely to suffer from illness. Lower social classes have poorer life expectancies and are also more likely to be unemployed and receive low wages.
A number of social inequality studies have assumed an individualistic approach that isolates men and women and disregards marriage patterns and family relationships. These studies implicitly assume that men and women are identical and that important differences in family and marital relationships do not exist. In fact, there are many differences between men and women that need to be taken into account.
While the United States has cut extreme poverty in half with the Millennium Project, there are still huge wealth inequalities. According to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, the richest three percent of people in the world are richer than the poorest three billion. As a result, there is a growing gap between the richest and the poorest countries. Contrary to the dominant media’s narrative, the wealth gap is not narrowing but increasing.
In Canada, the wealthiest ten percent of the population control over 58 percent of the country’s income. This percentage has steadily increased since the 1980s. Meanwhile, the middle 60% lost about four percent of their incomes, while the bottom twenty percent have experienced a 0.5% income loss. This means that the middle class is experiencing a deterioration in quality of life.
There are a variety of ways to address social inequalities. One important way is to increase the level of education. In addition to increasing the number of people with degrees, adults with lower education may need to take part in lifelong learning. However, the benefits of adult learning are not negligible and it is essential for modern societies to increase access to lifelong education.
Several researchers have also investigated the social inequalities of marriage and family. Researchers such as Perelli-Harris and Phalet have studied the timing of first marriages and cohabitations. While many of the studies focused on Western European populations, they also studied migrant populations. Moreover, some authors have investigated the effects of social support interventions in immigrant populations.
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