Social stratification in a society is the arrangement of people into groups having uneven access to chances and rewards based on authority, social status, and income. Those in the upper class enjoy authority, wealth, and prestige while working class citizens endure suffering and numerous penalties that other groups lack. Social stratification continues over many generations and takes into consideration beliefs of the people and not just the fact that the distinct groups are not equal. The drift between the social classes hinders them from sharing ideas that may be helpful to the overall economy. Thus, it is evident that social stratification is an inequity that has more adverse aspects than the positive ones. Consequently, the society should discourage it because it has severe outcomes as it interferes with the relation between individuals of various groups (Phillips, Larsen, & Hausman, 2015). However, the analysis of social stratification can assist in exploring the nature of social interactions, processes, arrangements, and issues facing a given society.
First, there is a need to differentiate between two concepts, namely social stratification and class in the society. As defined above, social stratification is the separation of a given culture into numerous groups determined by income, occupation, wealth, and other factors. On the other hand, social class is a group of people who relate closely in terms of fortune, power, and influence, enjoying the same financial rank (Song, Cavusgil, Li, & Luo, 2015).
In its turn, social stratification can affect the society either positively or negatively. Those in the upper class can enjoy good facilities, including expensive, convenient homes, extravagant holidays, prestigious education, and better health insurance. All these advantages may even lead to better lives for those in the upper class. Moreover, wealthy individuals are economically independent, possess the eminent personal control, and have the freedom to make their decisions. On the contrary, members of the lower class experience numerous inconveniences. For instance, some individuals live in rented houses situated in crowded places. Furthermore, they lack good educational institutions; hence, their children may perform poorly (Philips et al., 2015). In addition, such people often lack proper health facilities; therefore, they may not live longer as compared to wealthy members of the society, who are the members of best social systems. As a result, the latter group has access to people in influential positions. This social system leads to benefits extending from seeking better education, employment, and tolerance by police and courts. Due to social stratification, conflicts may arise between different groups. They can result in enmity among the classes because those in the lower class will always fight to be in the upper class to have better lifestyles.
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As mentioned above, social class is a group of people who live in parallel positions. It has different consequences depending on the group involved. For instance, social class can affect the character of a child. Particularly, wealthy children tend to have an irresponsible behavior compared to those in a lower class because they usually receive whatever they need without any hustle (Martins et al., 2015). Their parents have a significant amount of money to spend on their children, who might consequently end up being spoiled.
On the other hand, in most cases of juvenile crime, investigators accuse children from the lower class. Moreover, in many countries, working class youths are the ones drafted in the first place. They cannot decline the opportunity since it is a good chance for them to earn a living despite the adverse impacts involved in this occupation.
People in the middle class mostly face increased stress in their close correlation among themselves as well as violence in their homes. All these life circumstances that middle-class people experience make them more involved in their prosperity, ignoring the needs of others. Nevertheless, such individuals depend much on others to achieve their goals, which shows that they have a willingness to have a social connection with other groups in the community.
As mentioned earlier, social class has several effects on life outcomes. The social stratification of people in terms of their wealth, income, level of education, and occupations leads to a large drift between the rich and the poor. The position that one holds in the society may have an impact on several vital issues. For instance, members of a higher social class have a greater access to quality health care. Some of them can afford personal doctors; thus, they do not need to use public health facilities. On the contrary, some individuals cannot access high-quality healthcare. Moreover, employees whose profession is of a higher class are given more esteem in their workplaces and have more opportunities at work as compared to workers of a minor level. This difference brings about a significant influence since both parties may not feel comfortable or one may feel inferior to others (Martins et al., 2015).
Furthermore, the quality and level of education among the rich are quite commendable, which is evident since wealthy children attend expensive, prestigious schools. However, low-class people take their children to local public educational establishments which they can afford (Philips et al., 2015). As a result, it is unlikely that children from different social classes will have equal opportunities in life since some are more privileged than the others.
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Social class also has an effect on family life. In most instances, high-class men will opt to marry wealthy women because they have many things in common. The resulting family will definitely be rich since some of these people inherit money and property from their parents or they have already established themselves. The same case applies to people of a lower class and hence the distinction between the rich and the poor tends to be cyclic. Administrative involvement among high-class people is favorable due to the fact that they are more persuasive among the subjects as compared to middle-class people. Thus, they have a higher chance of endearing in a voting process (Porter, 2015). Religious affiliation is also an outcome of social class and is worth considering. Individuals belonging to a high or middle class tend to associate themselves with a specific denomination or church.
Currently, there is a tendency among the members of the working class to shift to another class due to education and employment opportunities, which has various effects on the community. Educated people have a greater mental ability and decision making; hence, they can achieve success in life. Nowadays, such people concentrate more on obtaining material goods and assets as compared to previous times when they worked tirelessly just to have the necessities of life. High-quality education results in great employment opportunities because individuals have access to prestigious schools (Philips et al., 2015). They are taught how to be creative and innovative, which motivates and inspires them to create their businesses and offer employment to others.
The community in a risen social class will have a greater access to standard and quality health care due to the fact that people can pay for health insurance services. They can also follow the diet required for a healthy lifestyle. Some individuals may even opt to hire personal doctors who can be at their service and advise them on health matters. However, there is a negative health impact that comes along with high social classes as wealthy members are inclined to have many lifestyle diseases like cancer and heart attack. The reason for the occurrence of illnesses is the great amount of junk food that high-class people consume. Furthermore, they spend many hours in the offices and do not make physical exercises, which are vital in one’s health as they help in burning calories that accumulate over time.
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Another effect that results from an upward change in social class is economic growth. People establish their business which brings income to them and taxes to the government (Song et al., 2015). Infrastructure is developed to enhance the easy transportation of goods to and from the businesses. The people are motivated to work hard in activities like agriculture since there is a market for their products. More social amenities are set up, including facilities such as hospitals, schools, and churches. Thus, they are readily available to the people, increasing their living standards. Crimes like burglary are more likely to happen in a community that has changed to a higher class. The reason is that some people do not want to work hard and earn their money (Song et al., 2015).
In conclusion, social class has both constructive and destructive consequences on the lives of people. It helps to bring out the real issues that people in a community face. The relationship or encounters between the two distinct classes may be of great help in identifying the gap between them. Social stratification is also destructive if not handled carefully. The working class citizens may feel inferior, thus making it difficult to interact with the people in a higher social class. Therefore, it is crucial to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor to enhance a peaceful living between the two parties.