Social Stratification and Inequality The Stratification System of the United States Like all societies, the United States is stratified, and this stratification is often based on a person’s socioeconomic status (SES) . This complex formula takes into account three factors: • Education • Occupation • Income The number of years a person spends in school, plus the prestige of his or her occupation, plus the amount of money he or she makes, determine one’s social class. While this method of dividing up the population into classes might be useful, it has several shortcomings. Education One determinant of socioeconomic status is education. People with a high school degree are classified in one group. People with college degrees are put into another. Using educational attainment levels to indicate SES is problematic for two reasons: • School systems in this country are not uniform in quality. • Not everyone has equal access to primary, secondary, and higher education.
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