How pervasive is inequality? Why does it exist?
Define stratification and give an example of a topic that a sociologist interested in
stratification might study.
Stratification can be described as the grouping of individuals based on certain criteria.
income is an example of a topic that a sociologist interested in stratification might study.
Discuss how the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” is incorrect. Discuss how poverty
rates might increase even as average income is increasing.
‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ is incorrect due to the fact that in our economy in the ‘rising tide’ has only
boats as the top.
As we know, means/averages are affected by outliers (extremely high or low
So therefore, even as the average income rises, only those at the top are seeing significant
gains, skewing the averages.
The rise income is not distributed evenly.
So yes, average income is rising
for those who make more.
They are steadily making more, while the poor are making the same, or less.
Describe trends in income and wealth inequality in the US over the last 60 years.
The ‘Age of Shared Prosperity’, which was marked by a more even distribution of economic increase,
ended in the mid 1970’s
and became the ‘Age of Growing Inequality’, which is marked by the extremely
wealthy, becoming more wealthy.
While those below them see little economic gain.
Describe households at different levels of the income distribution in terms of their
income, household structure, and patterns of female labor force participation.
. Income- less than 12,000; Government is large source of income.
Many female headed households,
and a lot of elderly.
Income around 35,000; single wage earner, usually woman; low skilled blue-collar, clerical, or
Mostly white, but many minority families
Median income of about 50,000.
Households depend on the income of 2 workers.
Usually employed in lower level management positions, technicians, or blue-collar workers.
Beyond the Mainstream.
Average income: 120,000.
Two earners. Professional and managerial.
minority or female heads.
Income around 500,000. Lawyers, doctors, executives.
Out of Sight Rich.
Income over 1 million dollars.
Income mostly from assets, but work as executive
officers of large corporations.