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What Is Socioeconomic Status?

Sociology uses socioeconomic status to classify people. This classification uses the measure of someone’s wealth and their social standing (level of education, where they live). The classifications are used to address various issues within communities from the housing issues, prevalence of crime to children’s performance in school.

Socioeconomic status is both appreciated and criticized. It is appreciated that it is used very well in analyzing communities and determining risk factors that need to be solved through better development initiatives. It saves time and money as resources for development are put to good use; once a socioeconomic status for a particular community is determined, the government and other agencies are better able to allocate the optimum resources within a given time. Equally distributing funding and other forms of assistance to both high and low socioeconomic classes is a waste of resources as the higher classes may not require some things as much as the lower classes. Thus, the analysis used in determining socioeconomic status ensures efficient and effective actions for development.

Negatively, socioeconomic status leads to profiling (especially on the grounds of race), stereotyping and exclusion. This clusters people, rather than examining them individually and can lead to further social divisions. Once a label has been placed on a community it is difficult to remove it as seen with ghettos and crime filled poor neighborhoods. Discrepancies always occur as sometimes well-off people choose to live in poor communities or poor children get scholarships to attend prestigious and expensive schools, but the socioeconomic label stays the same.

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