sociology of the family chapter 4

Class is more complicated than how much money an individual has or earns.

Class and family issues are even more complicated.

Who “belongs” to a family is not always clear.
• Two broad perspectives

(LADDER)

1. Class status as being access to a continuum of resources with richer people above poorer people on the socioeconomic ladder (on the left)

2. Class a set of discrete groups with smaller, higher classes stacked on top of larger, lower classes (on the right)

LADDER

CLASS AS CATEGORIES

Many people think of class as a ladder of economic resources, with richer people (and their families) climbing higher than those with fewer resources.

Most sociologists are interested in classes as CATEGORIES, in which people share common sets of circumstances and perspectives.

TWO VIEWS are depicted with the LADDER CLIMBERS
TWO VIEWS are depicted with the LADDER CLIMBERS representing the CONTINUUM-OF-RESOURCES and the STACKED BOXES representing the DISCRETE-GROUPS VIEW (figure 4.1)

(1) Both views show people in richer-versus-poorer stations, but the ladder accentuates their status as individuals and their ability to move up and down

(2) The boxes, on the other hand, highlight the shared positions of people in groups and also the barriers between groups that make it difficult to limb around.

Which perspective captures the modern experiences of class matters because it may reflect how people see themselves and how they behave in everything from
marriage decisions to parenting styles to political action.

The differences between the ladders view and the boxes view is vital to understanding families-which are, after all, groups of people with a lot in common

THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND DIVISION ON LABOR

TWO BROAD CLASS PERSPECTIVES

CONSENSUS AND CONFLICT THEORY PROVIDE important insights into the SOCIAL CLASS IN MODERN SOCIETY

The ASSUMPTIONS of these perspectives lead TO VERY DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF CLASS AND INEQUALITY.

COHORTS
(NOT IN BOOK, DAVE SAID IT IN CLASS)
CLASS OF PEOPLE BASED ON CRITERIA- a group of people used in a study who have something (such as age or social class) in common
DIVISION OF LABOR
The social process of determining who does what work and for what rewards

This has been a central concern of sociology from the beginning

CONSENSUS THEORISTS AND FUNCTIONALISTS start with the assumption that?
SOCIAL INEQUALITY IS A NECESSARY PART OF SOCIETY and serves an ESSENTIAL FUNCTION.
KINGSLEY DAVIS AND WILBERT MOORE’S (1945) statement of this position asserts that?
SOME JOBS ARE MORE IMPORTANT OR DIFFICULT THAN OTHERS.
A SYSTEM OF UNEQUAL REWARDS serves as?
AN INCENTIVE TO ATTRACT THE MOST TALENTED PEOPLE TO PERFORM THESE TASKS

UNEQUAL REWARDS are necessary to motivate individuals to SEEK THE EXTENSIVE TRAINING REQUIRED FOR DIFFICULT AND IMPORTANT WORK TO strive to do the best job they can

In this view, SOCIAL CLASS IS A CONTINUUM FROM LOWER TO HIGHER RUNGS on the ECONOMIC LADDER, with DIFFERENT LEVELS OF REWARD determined by the kinds of jobs people have

The INEQUALITY BETWEEN THOSE LOWER AND HIGHER on the ladder of reward are NOT ONLY BENEFICIAL BUT……
ALSO NECESSARY TO THE FUNCTIONING OF SOCIETY.
KARL MARX AND EXPLOITATION
Drawing from the work of Karl Marx in the nineteenth century

The conflict perspective also uses the division of labor as the crucial element in order to explain the class system, but comes to a different conclusion. Rather than seeing classes, and the inequality between them as a necessary and beneficial, conflict theorists see inequality as the result of economic EXPLIOTATION.

EXPLOITATION
THE PROCESS BY WHICH THE LABOR OF SOME PRODUCES WEALTH THAT IS CONTROLLED BY OTHERS

Scholars in this division believe that the fundamental class division is not determined by skill or talent(expertise), but one of own ownership

EXPLOITATION

IN A CAPITALISTS SOCIETY

capitalists– those who own and control property (capital) dominate those who have no capital and therefore must subsist by selling their labors on unfavorable terms

Social classes are distinct categories defined by their class inequality that is created by their ownership (and a lack of ownership) of capital

Classes are defined by their relationship too each-other: capitalists and workers exist only in relation to each other
The owners are not necessarily more skilled or more qualified; they merely have ownership.

Classes and class difference exist only in relationship to one another and do not form a continuum.

Since Marx’s time, this situation has become more complicated with the development and growth of the large-middle class categories.

The conflict nor the consensus theory described much to explain the complication of social class families

MAX WEBER AND LIFE CHANCES
Weber (1864-1920) used neither the consensus perspective nor the conflict perspective. He said Opportunity to success is crucial to the definition of class. His work supports the sociological concept of LIFE CHANCES
LIFE CHANCES-
The practical opportunity to achieve desired material conditions and personal experiences
MAX WEBER & LIFE CHANCES
Weber says it was NOT abstract freedom BUT the practical ability to achieve that defines a person’s LIFE CHANCES.

This concept is different from the conventional American view of opportunity, which focuses on the absence of formal obstacles to success.

EXAMPLE: In a capitalist economy, a person with a few material resources or skills does not have high life chances, even if that person has the hypothetical possibility of becoming rich, because the practical chance of doing so is very small.

• The job, income, or resources of a parent will affect the life chances of the spouse and/or children.

• Income and other resources of family members and those we are connected to influence life chances and the class position of those in the rest of the family.

PIERRE BOURIEU AND SOCIAL CAPITAL
BOURDIEU (1930-2002) developed the idea of social capital.

• BELIEVED THAT FAMILIES ARE ONLY ONE SUCH SOCIAL NETWORK, BUT PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE.

• Social capital is a resource that an individual has by virtue of relationships and networks and can improve that individual’s life chances.

Belonging to a group such as a family or an exclusive club, makes it possible for people to draw from their resources held by all of its members

EXAMPLE: Parents paying for college, an uncle getting someone a job interview, or the chance to meet potential spouses at an exclusive party.

SOCIAL CAPITAL DEFINITION
THE ACCESS TO RESOURCE’S ONE HAS BY VIRTUE OF RELATIONSHIPS AND CONNECTIONS WITHIN A SOCIAL NETWORK
SOCIAL CAPITAL
The RESOURCES OF A GROUP ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY available to EVERYONE EQUALLY, it depends on BEING A GROUPS MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING which requires EFFORT AND UPKEEP, In the family that means OFFERING ONE’S OWN RESOURCES TO ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER, PROTECTING THE FAMILY NAME AND REPUTATION, AND OBEYING ONES’ ELDERS—or at least being polite at thanksgiving dinner

SOCIAL CLASS IS NOT SOMETHING ONLY RICH PEOPLE HAVE…….

poor people may get jobs from uncles as well, BUT THE AMOUNT OF SOCIAL CAPITAL—IN ADDITION TO THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS—IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DIVIDE THOSE IN LOWER CLASSES FROM THOSE IN UPPER CLASSES

FAMILIES IN THEIR SOCIAL CLASSES

GENERATION OF WEALTH AND PRIVILEGE

The Winston family is an example of a family with a network of people with similar (upper-class) class backgrounds and economic circumstances. Elite New England family, White and wealthy. Educated with College degrees, the sort of weddings reported in “The New York Times”. Professionals, lawyers, bank executives etc.

• They represent a small slice of the American upper class.

• Showing their interconnection is important for understanding that this class in not just people with very high salaries and professional’s jobs, but a group of connected families full of people with high salaries and professional jobs.

• ** Substantial wealth passes from generation to generation, along with lifestyle, education, and social connections of their extended networks, enjoyed in their big houses (and summer homes) and private schools for their children.

• When marrying, they marry ENDOGAMOUSLY, that is, within their group

• This class group still uses family ties to forge a cohesive social group.

• Unlike the poor or working class, this is very exclusive group, membership which is closely guarded

• They share common interests, experiences, and ways of looking at the world, which are reinforced in their selective schools tightly connected social interactions.

• When they need a job, or a spouse or a friend, they have a network of potentially like-minded people to who they many turn-people who may be in their Alumni association, school PTA, or yacht club.

• Class membership is not just a result of inherited wealth, high income jobs, and high education, but a result of a huge stick of SOCIAL CAPITAL to which members have access—and LIFE CHANCES that reflect these opportunities.

• Identifying a friendship network is more difficult than tracing a group related by marriage, because friendships are not usually publicly recorded. Friendship connections also appear to be highly selective though even in this class

FAMILIES IN THEIR SOCIAL CLASSES

GENERATIONS OF WORKING POVERTY

-Family on the other side of the TRACKS-REFERS TO PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT SOCIAL CLASSES LIVING ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS, WHICH HAVE LONG BEEN PROMINENT PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL BARRIERS IN AMERICAN CITIES

-Katherine Newman-her book-details the struggles of the working poor-PEOPLE WHO OFTEN HAVE JOBS BUT ARE UNABLE TO ACHIEVE ECONOMIC SECURITY OR STABILITY

-Eve-a black woman who’s a letter carrier, has 7 daughters between her ex-husband and current partner and he’s retired from a job parking cars. Daughters have jobs such as medical secretary, corrections and hairstylist and their husbands are truck driving, bus driving and construction, military veterans and require public assistance. Daughters have children with previous partners. None of the daughters have been to college, but a few of their children have started.

-As the family tree expands, you will find that adults have postal jobs, fast food, military service and clerical jobs. College attendance is very rare, which poverty and PUBLIC ASSISTANCE IS VERY COMMON.

-IN THE 3 GENERATIONS THERE REPRESENTED, THERE IS LITTLE EVIDENCE OF MOVEMENT OUT OF WORKING CLASS AND ITS MEAGER MATERIAL CONDITIONS

-Only one of the decedents has married or cohabited with someone who has a professional degree. What social capital they have doesn’t provide the needed resources for much improvement in LIFE CHANCES

FAMILY NETWORKS

FAMILIES IN THEIR SOCIAL CLASSES

– Social class networks are crucial to understanding class stratification and inequality.

• There are MANY more connections within each social class then between social classes.

• Evie’s poor family is a network of people with similar class backgrounds and economic circumstances.

• Most families have connections only to those within the same class and FEW MARRY ACROSS THE TRACKS

• The class groups are not just at different levels of each other, but they also occupy distinct social spaces and barriers in between are sharply defined and often insurmountable like the railroad tracks that separate neighborhoods
• Marriage across class lines (exogamy) is uncommon.

• 4 out of 5 American marriages include spouses on the same some of the college/no college divide and it has grown stronger in the decades

CLASS IDENTITY
the awareness of, and sense of belonging to a specific social view
FAMILY NETWORKS

FAMILIES IN THEIR SOCIAL CLASSES

CLASS IDENTITY

• Families are often grouped according to class divisions.

• Without class identities, social classes could be thought of as statistical groups of people with similar economic profiles., but with class identity they become familiar social settings with distinctive ways of life and patterns of interaction involving intimate, lifelong family relationships, class develop shared patterns of thinking and acting.

• These patterns are a result of similar economic circumstances and experiences, like owning wealth and property (or not) working for others versus managing others at work.

• They follow from the everyday interactions their members have, which they socialize with each-other and build a REPERTOIRE OF EXPECTED AND ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, similar to the process that happens in families

• Class identity also helps us figure out who belongs in which social class even when individuals have fluctuating incomes. EXAMPLE: poor families may see their incomes bobbing up and down around the bare minimum as they navigate between jobs and income sources—Middle class families experience fluctuations are well, even if they don’t usually rise to the level of threatening the families’ survival.

• Class identity is more durable, persisting for years if not generations Because People are raised and socialized according to their family’s class perspectives and the behavior and experiences of those around them

• Social capital helps smooth out the unevenness year to year, good years they may help friends and relatives, but during lean years they may need help from others.

• Barriers between classes are strong and Class identity is also strong and tends to be reinforced through close contact with others in the same social class. On the other hand, when people flow easier between classes, the tendency to identity with their own class origins are weaker. The number of classes, even the existence of discrete identifiable classes is not always certain.

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE
Combining various approaches to social class and the way Americans see themselves & analyzing the distribution of income and occupation, Sociologists have developed a common description of the contemporary structure of the social classes

“common description” because most sociologists have given up attempting to define social classes in modern society, instead concepts and measures help explain the nature social life and problems we face.

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE

THE CAPITALISTS AND CORPORATE MANAGERIAL CLASS

• This is what has been referred to as “THE 1 PERCENT.”

• A VERY SMALL GROUP but the actual number is not known

• SOMETIMES CALLED THE “UPPER CLASS”

• The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as this class is 3.2% (according to the General Social Survey)

• Extremely high standard of living and both economic and political influence far beyond their numbers

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE

THE MIDDLE CLASS

• A MUCH LARGER GROUP than the upper class

• Historically, occupations have been relatively stable jobs based

• They usually have jobs based on higher education, technical skills, or credentials.

• The standard of living is much more modest and are able to meet basic needs, including health care and education and usually own homes

* In the U.S. adult population, almost half, 43.2% identifies themselves with this category

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE

THE WORKING CLASS

-LACKING high education and training of the middle class, this LARGE GROUP has a standard living SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS BUT WITH MUCH LESS STABILITY

-Their jobs, once based on industries with strong labor unions or government protection are LESS SECURE

-they more often EXPERIENCE ECONOMIC SHOCKS THAT THREATEN THEIR WAY OF LIFE (recession in 2000’s)

-This group is SLIGHTLY LARGER AT 45.6%

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE

THE LOWER CLASS

-most in this group DO NOT have higher education or skilled jobs

-families have low incomes and a HIGH DEGREE OF ECONOMIC INSECURITY

-Their job situations fluctuate, and may experience periods of outright poverty including lack of adequate medical care housing

– This class is very poor who are unable to compete for jobs that might lift them out of poverty

-usually depend on government assistance for much of their food, medical care or housing

-ONLY 8% IDENTIFIES AS THIS CLASS” In the GSS BUT based on their economic conditions SOCIOLOGISTS BELIEVE THAT THIS GROUP IS LARGER

-The official poverty rate was 15% in 2012.

THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE
(SOCIAL CLASS INEQUALITY)
-If classes represent higher or lower levels of economic status and security, then the distance between them is a social class INEQUALITY

-AND one of the most important trends in US history for the last half century has been the GROWTH OF SUCH INEQUALITY

INCREASING EQUALITY

INCOME INEQUALITY COMPARISONS (2)

(1) have to consider the relative difference between people with more money and people with less money

(2) we need to understand how the overall level of inequality in society changes over time.

-Very important dimension beyond the scope of this book is inequality in societies

-As people view those who are richer or poorer than themselves, their perception is affected both by SOCIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THEM and by HOW THAT DISTANCE HAS CHANGED OVER TIME

INCREASING EQUALITY

CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILY INCOME IN THE US

-Combined income of all related people who live in the same household

-30% of families had incomes below 37,500 in 2011 and together those families have just 10% of the total national income

-The bottom two-thirds of families were all below 82,500 each and together they had 49% of all income

-the top 5% of families all had incomes of 150,000 or more, and their share of the income was 22%.

-if the top 5% of families received 22% of their income in 2011 than that is A LOT OF INEQUALITY

GINI INDEX
A measure of inequality in which 0(all families have the same income) represents complete equality and 1(One family has all the income) represents complete inequality.
INCREASING INEQUALITY
-THE INCOME INEQUALITY HAS INCREASED DRAMATICALLY, ALMOST CONTINUOUSLY SINCE THE END OF 1960s
TRENDS/CHANGES

AT THE BOTTOM: KEEPING THE POOR FROM IMPROVING THEIR LOT

-There has been little change in public policy and family structure that keeps their income rising. (EX. The legal minimum wage that’s set by the federal government has been allowed to fall as inflation eroded its value)

Minimum wage as fallen 30% by 2012, after inflation is taken into account

-$7.25 a hr/15,000 per year

-in response to the falling minimum wage, “living wage” laws have been implemented

-Growing numbers of SINGLE -PARENT FAMILIES—most with only a mother’s income to live on—has contributed to the number of POOR FAMILIES

TRENDS/CHANGES

IN THE MIDDLE—DIVERGENT FORTUNES(SPLIT)

-Middle-income ranges, some trends have pulled families down while others have lifted up RESULTING IN A GREATER DEGREE OF INEQUALITY

-on the other hand, the decline of manufacturing sector in the face of global competition HURT MANY MIDDLE-INCOME WORKERS, who had previously been able to earn a good income without benefits of a college degree NON-College jobs are likely to be low-wage service jobs(fast food)

-in the new service-oriented economy those with higher education are doing much better (think lawyers)

-many women now receive higher earning than they did in the past, but these gains have largely benefited women with more education

-the increasing tendency for people to marry at their own education level has exacerbated the slit between families with two high earners and those with two low earners.

TRENDS/CHANGES

A THE TOP: THE NEW SUPERRICH

-a new pattern of very high incomes has emerged, spurred by government policies that include the deregulation of the finance industry, reduced taxes on certain kinds of income earned by the very rich, and relaxed restrictions on CORPORATE LOBBYING FOR THOSE POLICIES……

– groups include —-chief executives at major corporations whose incomes include stock in the companies and huge bonuses; investment bankers and financial managers who handle the vast of the money; and celebrities and superstar athletes, whose growing audience have propelled their incomes upward

-AS A RESULT: the richest 1% of individuals more than doubles their share of a total national income in the last 4 decades, from less than 10% more than 20%

INCREASED INEQUALITY
THE FACTORS ALL INCREASE TO INCREASING INEQUALITY BETWEEN FAMILIES

-AS THE GAP FROM RICHER TO POOR HAS GROWN, THE TREND OF SLIPPING DOWN FROM UPPER CLASS OR MIDDLE CLASS HAS BECOME A CONSTANT WORRY FOR MANY FAMILIES

-INSECURITY AND INSTABILITY are potential issues FOR ALL BUT the richest American families

-economic crisis sometimes can threaten a families CLASS IDENTITY as well as its MATERIAL WELL-BEING

-OWNING A HOME is often considered a marker of MIDDLE-CLASS status; the breaking point may occur when the family is at risk of losing the house

-although sometimes family’s basic needs aren’t immediately threatened, they may have to choose between college and home-ownership which is more than just financially destabilizing.

POVERTY AND POLICY
-SOCIAL CLASS IS IMPORTANT FOR GOVERNMENT POLICY, ESPECIALLY TAX AND WELFARE POLICY

-government intervention is lower here than many other countries

-the government distributes income downward to assist the poor by identifying richer people to tax and poorer people to receive the benefit’s.

-laws dividing lines between those with higher and lower incomes

-THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT USES INCOME CATEGORIES TO SET TAX RATES SO THAT RICH FAMILIES NORMALLY PAY HIGHER TAXES THAN POOR FAMILIES WHICH IS A PROCESS KNOWN AS “PROGRESSIVE TAXATION”

-THE POOREST FIFTH OF HOUSEHOLDS PAY 4% OF THEIR INCOME IN TAXES, COMPARED WITH THE 26% FOR THE RICHEST FIFTH OF HOUSEHOLDS

-the government also defines poverty and uses that definition to determine who may get government benefit’s

In 2012, a family of 4 was considered “POOR” if there combined income was less than $23,283. Which is considered the OFFICIAL POVERTY LINE

POVERTY LINE DEFINITION
the level of income below which the federal government defines a family or individual as poor
POVERTY LINE CREATION
-This line was created in the 1960s based on a formula that simply multiplied a familys “ECONOMY FOOD PLAN” TIMES 3 because at the time food accounted for about 1/3 of a family’s expense, but the line has since then been adjusted according the INFLATION RATE.
POVERTY LINE

3 problems with the intention of the POVERTY LINE to identify families that can’t meet their basic needs

(1) the price of food has risen more slowly than the price of housing and medical care, so living on a food budget times 3 no longer is adequate

(2) the calculation doesn’t include important government benefits that some low-income families get, especially medical assistance and tax credits

(3) It Doesn’t take into account the different costs of living in different places that the $23,283 might be enough to live on in a small Midwestern town, but not along coastal city.

POVERTY LINE BENEFIT
-The benefit of the poverty line is that it allows us to access the problems with poverty in a consistent way over time and for different groups
POVERTY LINE

Jesus promised salvation to those who met the obligation

-some don’t agree that the government should give money to the poor, but others argue that those with money should spare to fulfill societies moral obligations-government is our agent of Endeavor-Christianity—Jesus promised salvation to those who met the obligation
6 FACTS ABOUT POVERTY IN THE US
(1)-POVERTY INCREASED DRAMATICALLY DURING THE 2000’S

(2) POVERTY IS CONCENTRATED BY RACE/ETHNICITY

(3) -POVERTY IS CLOSELY RELATED TO FAMILY STRUCTURE

4) PEOPLE IN POVERTY SUFFER FROM SERIOUS DEPRIVATION

(5) HOMELESSNESS HAS DECLINED BUT REMAINS A SERIOUS PROBLEM

(6) MANY PEOPLE MOVE IN AND OUT OF POVERTY

FACTS ABOUT POVERTY IN THE US

(1)-POVERTY INCREASED DRAMATICALLY DURING THE 2000’S

-2012 poverty rate was 15%, 46.5 million people were living in families (or alone) with income below federal poverty line

-largest number ever recorded and an increase of 15 million since 2000.

-highest is ever been at any time since 1960’s

-INCREASED WAS CAUSED BY A COMBINATION OF FACTORS THAT INCREASED INEQUALITY AND BY THE SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE 2008

(2) POVERTY IS CONCENTRATED BY RACE/ETHNICITY
-American Indians, Latinos, and African Americans are all about 3 times more likely to be poor than whites
(3) -POVERTY IS CLOSELY RELATED TO FAMILY STRUCTURE
-single mother households are much more likely to be poor than other groups in the US

-African Americans and people with less education are least likely to MARRY

-women with less education have more children on average

-a single woman who lives with her children is especially likely to fall into poverty—or unable to rise out of it.

-the poverty rate for single mothers (34%) are 4 times higher than married-couple families (8%)

4) PEOPLE IN POVERTY SUFFER FROM SERIOUS DEPRIVATION
-those at the bottom of the economic scale go without many of the things most people consider necessary

-sometimes deprivation is episodic—it comes and goes—but it still looms large in the lives of poor

-about half of the children in families below poverty experience at least one of these hardships in a given year:
–periods of food shortage
–overcrowded housing
–being late on rent or mortgage
–not going to doctor when necessary

-many people live in families that have to make painful trade-offs to keep the heat and put food on the table.

(5) HOMELESSNESS HAS DECLINED BUT REMAINS A SERIOUS PROBLEM
-600,000 PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS, living in shelters, on the streets in cars, in abandoned buildings or in other places not intended for dwellings.

-0.2% of the population

-About a third are homeless living with families, while the rest are alone.

-declined through 2000’s-even with economic crisis—government and local partners helped by identifying and housing homeless people

(6) MANY PEOPLE MOVE IN AND OUT OF POVERTY
-poverty in an experience that many more Americans have at some point in their lives

-even though 15% of people are in poverty now, about twice the number experience at least a year in poverty during the last 15 year period, THIS IS BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NEAR THE POVERTY LINE
—AND AT RISK OF FALLING BELOW IN SHORT ORDER—IS MUCH GREATER THAN THE NUMBER OF POOR AT ANY ONE TIME

ONE THING THAT POOR PEOPLE AND THOSE AT RISK SHARE?
THE EXPERIENCE OF UNCERTAINTY, of not knowing whether more serious hardship is right around the corner
(many remembered from childhood)
POVERTY LINE IS OFTEN USED AS A GUIDE, BUT NOT A STRICK CUTOFF
-EX: THE FEDERAL WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN PROGRAM MAKES MILLIONS OF LOW-INCOME FAMILIES ELIGIBLE FOR NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT BASED ON INCOME CUTOFF OF 1.85 TIMES THE POVERTY LINE

-Other poverty line programs are Medicaid(top), food stamps, school lunch program, disability assistance, public/subsidized housing, temporary assistance, and cash assistance

-these programs help prevent many of the worst outcomes associated with economic deprivation and it reduces the number of people in real poverty by more than half

Even after govern support 1 in 6 American’s still don’t have the income necessary to support their basic needs

IN TERMS OF SOCIAL CLASS CATEGORIES, THIS WOULD INCLUDE THE LOWER CLASS AS WELL AS A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THOSE IN THE WORKING CLASS WHO, EVEN IF THEY HAVE JOBS, DO NOT COMMAND ENOUGH STABLE INCOME TO RISE ABOUT A MINIMAL STANDARD OF LIVING.

WHICH FAMILIES ARE IN POVERTY??
-THERE ARE ALMOST AS MANY POOR PEOPLE IN MARRIED-COUPLE FAMILIES (13.9 M) AS THERE ARE IN POOR SINGLE-PARENT FAMILIES (16.5)—THAT’S BECAUSE THEIRS MORE MARRIED-COUPLES

—EVEN WITH ELIMINATING POVERTY AMONG SINGLE MOTHERS, THERE WOULD STILL BE 29 MILLION LIVING IN POVERTY

UNMARRIED—FEMALE HEADED FAMILIES 16.5 M—34%

MARRIED COUPLE FAMILIES 13.9 M — 8%

UNRELATED INDIVIDUALS 12.4 M – 23%

UNMARRIED—MALE-HEADED FAMILIES 2.8 M – 17%

SOCIAL MOBILITY
the mobility, up and down, between social classes
SOCIAL MOBILITY AND CLASS PERSISTENCE
as mentioned earlier about children following the footsteps of their parents seems to not always be that case, it is a major sociological research

this is the question of SOCIAL MOBILITY

How social classes reproduce from generation to generation (social mobility) is a major sociological issue
PEOPLES CLASS ORIGIN VS CLASS DESTINATION—the social class of their parents compared with their own class position in adult hood

-Most American’s believe we live in a society with a high degree of SOCIAL MOBILITY—a society which anyone can rise from meager origins to achieve higher status or wealth—as in—the classic “RAGS-TO-RICHES” stories

Many people do rise, but many MORE DO NOT

SOCIAL MOBILITY AND CLASS PERSISTENCE

-“MOBILITY TABLE”

-social mobility was studied by comparing the occupations of fathers with the occupations of sons

5 job categories ranked from highest(upper professional) to lowest(unskilled)—it showed that sons are most likely to share the fathers occupation—2.2 times likely to be upper professionals if father was compared with sons who’s fathers were in other occupations—THIS PATTERN IS ALSO SIMILAR FOR MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS

-Compared to other countries, US has LESS SOCIAL MOBILITY…that is American children are more likely to end up in economic situations similar to their parents, which is particularly true of people on the opposite ends of economic spectrum.

-ITS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO ESCAPE EXTREME POVERTY AND HIGHLY UNUSUAL TO FALL FROM EXTREME WEALTH

SOCIAL MOBILITY AND CLASS PERSISTENCE

SOCIAL PERSISTENCE

• The tendency of children to reproduce their parents’ social class

• American children are more likely to end up in economic conditions similar to their parents, especially those at the high and low ends of the economic scale.

SOCIAL MOBILITY AND CLASS PERSISTENCE

SOCIAL PERSISTENCE

Historically, inheritance taxes as high as 77% on the largest estates have mitigated this economic INEQUALITY.

-in 1970s, the federal estate tax was taking on the richest 7% of people when they died, but the limit has since been lowered so that now less than 1% of estates are taxed and this is part why the tax structure in the united states is less progressive, contributing to INCREASED INEQUALITY

-Parent may also shape behaviors and values of the next generation with inheritance EX: parents may withdrawal financial support if they do not approve of children’s marriage choices & if parents are successful, the children may inherit not only assets, but crucial aspects of their behavior and perspectives of society

TWO IMPORTANT DIMENSIONS OF FAMILY LIFE THAT HAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LIFE CHANCES OF CHILDREN IN THE NEXT GENERATION ARE?
FAMILY STRUCTURE AND PARENTING BEHAVIOR
FAMILY STRUCTURE
-people with low incomes less likely to marry, less educated, have more children and at higher risk of divorce which has increased ECONOMIC INEQUALITY in recent decades, the trends which mean now that find children who live in married-parents concentrated in higher-income families and those live with single parent skewed toward the lower end of the income scale, often in poverty.
FAMILY STRUCTURE

PATTERN OF INCOME & FAMILY TYPE

-Most common situation for children of single mothers is a family income below $25,000

-THERE ARE ALMOST 10 MILLION CHILDREN OF SINGLE MOTHERS LIVING IN THIS BRACKET

-Most common for children of married parents is a family income between $50,000-$100,000.

-If this is true that most children remain in the same social class as which they grew up in than today’s children of single mothers are most likely to DOMINATE THE LOWER WORKING CLASS OF TOMORROW

-Much of the focus and concern about social class and family structure is on single-mother families

THOSE GROWING UP WITH A SINGLE PARENT FACE 3 KINDS OF SCARCITY THAT CAN MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO REACH THE MIDDLE AND UPPER CLASSES
MONEY
TIME
SOCIAL CAPITAL
(1) MONEY
lower incomes, it may be harder for these families to meet basic needs, much less such benefits for better housing or private education—these children live with ECONOMIC UNCERTANITY AND INSECURITY which increases stress and threatens their confidence
(2) TIME
Single moms have less time to spend with their children than married parents. Demands on low-income mothers who must support their families, mother’s employment cuts down on supervision and support for children when they mature. Single parents RELY MORE ON “MEDIA TIME” as a parenting strategy than do HIGH-EARNING PARENTS
(3) SOCIAL-CAPITAL
often starting with the smaller family network, children in single parent families may have access to fewer resources from adults—especially economically successful adults—who can support then in various ways as they grow up
-FAMILY STRUCTURE CLEARLY AFFECTS?
CHILDREN S LIVES AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT IN MANY WAYS, SHAPE OF ONES FAMILY IS NOT AN ISOLATED FACTOR

-THESE SCARCITIES—OF TIME, MONEY AND SOCIAL CAPITAL MERELY EXACERBATE THE CHALLENGES AND HARDSHIPS THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR ARE GOING TO FACE WHETHER THEIR PARENTS ARE MARRIED OR NOT.

FAMILY PRACTICES
-MONEY, PARENTING DECISIONS, AND TIME INVESTMENTS—AND THE EXPERIENCES THEY MAKE POSSIBLY—ALL COMBINE TO OFFER SOME CHILDREN BOTH EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND THE SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND ABILITY THAT MAY CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR FUTURE

-Most American parents try very hard to help their children succeed.

-As ECONOMIC INEQUALITY has increased, the WIN-OR-LOSE nature of society has put more pressure on families to improve THEIR LIFE CHANCES

-rich, use their money to help make children’s success possible, which requires a whole set of parenting practices, such as having their children participate in sports, providing lessons and tutors, arranging travel experiences ad activating the extensive social networks

-Children of the poor aren’t automatically destined for an impoverished adulthood, but the lack of resources set obstacles to achieve SOCIAL CLASS MOBILITY

-parents with jobs that required self-direction were more likely to raise their children to value that quality——but those who required to follow orders tend to raise their children to value conformity. —which preparing kids for the future, parents end up preparing them to follow the same occupational footsteps.

-Sociologist ANNETTE LAREAU STUDIES ON SOCIAL CLASS AND PARENTING
taking account INCREASE INEQUALITY, the growing importance of college education and the rise of intensive parenting—describing major differences to child bearing middle class parents and the parents in the working or poverty class

-middle class are more likely to grow up with a sense of confidence and entitlement and feel empowered to stick up for themselves in school and the workplace.

-Poor and working class parents are more concerned that their children have fun and enjoy childhood—but by not aggressively cultivating their children’s skills and talents, they may miss the opportunity for them to move up in the class hierarchy

-Sociologist ANNETTE LAREAU STUDIES ON SOCIAL CLASS AND PARENTING

(1) MIDDLE CLASS PARENTS PRACTICE CONCERTED CULTIVATION

-aggressive approach of parenting, making constant efforts to fill up their children’s schedule with age-targeted activities to stimulate the children’s cognitive & social development. Also taught their children to directly engage with the professional adults in their lives—such as teachers and doctors—rather than passively submitting to authority.
-Sociologist ANNETTE LAREAU STUDIES ON SOCIAL CLASS AND PARENTING

(2) WORKING-CLASS AND POOR PARENTS PRACTICE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF NATURAL GROWTH

-see children’s development as a natural outcome that would emerge if only their children were provided with protection, comfort and care. Rather than schedule a lot of formal activities, these parents permitted children to play informally, spending more time with mixed age groups of relatives or friends in the neighborhood. -parents less assertive of kids interacting with authority figures, deferring to the decision making of professionals.
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
-higher income families gained internet access sooner, so that a DIGITAL DIVIDE—the social class gap between those with and those without access to current digital technology opened up in the early years of the internet

-household’s with internet increased to 72%-2001, fewer than 40% with less than a high school degree has access at home

-the gap in internet access doesn’t mean that children in families with less educated parents don’t use electronic media, in FACT, THEY SPEND MORE TIME IN FRONT OF THE SCREENS

-Children of those with only a high school degree or less spend about an hour more per day watching tv than those parents that graduated from college

-high educated parents are more likely to promote formal enrichment activities for their children, rather than permit them to unstructured time

-low income stress about neighborhoods limit the amount of time children play outside

-time squeeze of long hours of work and commutes make media time a practical necessity

-The research increasing reveals that it is not just the quality of time children spend in front of the screens that matters, but the quality of their online interaction and the role of the technology in their lives, which is another worry for parents guiding their child’s development

EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
-education has grown more important for separating people into higher and lower social classes

-best chance for children in poor families to move up comes from expanding higher education system

-children from higher social classes are much more likely to make it through

-educational divide is apparent from the earliest ages, the living environment’s, resources, and parenting practices children experience very dramatically

-the class differences that run through the lives of children are PATTERNS rather than rules, and they aren’t universal

-SOCIAL CLASS GAP RESULTS FROM PARENTING
EX: both mothers and fathers from high-income families spend considerably more time in hands-on care taking of their children from infancy, rich parents have more time to give with fewer children to care for—fewer hours away from home

-by the time children reach kindergarten, those from affluent homes are better prepared to succeed academically with fewer behavior problems and are prepared for school socially.

EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
-children from richest quarter households are 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY to complete a four-year college degree than those of the poorest quarter households (54% vs 9%)

-poorest households are 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DROP OUT that richest households (13% vs 2%)

EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
-SOCIAL CLASS GAP RESULTS FROM PARENTING

EX: both mothers and fathers from high-income families spend considerably more time in hands-on care taking of their children from infancy, rich parents have more time to give with fewer children to care for—fewer hours away from home