Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through
Many societies worldwide claim to be
Although merit matters to some degree in many societies, research shows that the distribution of resources in societies often follows hierarchical social categorizations of persons to a degree too significant to warrant calling these societies "meritocratic", since even exceptional intelligence, talent, or other forms of merit may not be compensatory for the social disadvantages people face. In many cases, social inequality is linked to racial inequality, ethnic inequality, and gender inequality, as well as other social statuses and these forms can be related to corruption.
The most common metric for comparing social inequality in different nations is the Gini coefficient, which measures the concentration of wealth and income in a nation from 0 (evenly distributed wealth and income) to 1 (one person has all wealth and income). Two nations may have identical Gini coefficients but dramatically different economic (output) and/or quality of life, so the Gini coefficient must be contextualized for meaningful comparisons to be made.
Social inequality is found in almost every society. Social inequality is shaped by a range of structural factors, such as geographical location or citizenship status, and are often underpinned by cultural discourses and identities defining, for example, whether the poor are 'deserving' or 'undeserving'. In simple societies, those that have few social roles and statuses occupied by its members, social inequality may be very low. In
Social inequality can be classified into egalitarian societies, ranked society, and stratified society. Egalitarian societies are those communities advocating for social equality through equal opportunities and rights, hence no discrimination. People with special skills were not viewed as superior compared to the rest. The leaders do not have the power they only have influence. The norms and the beliefs the egalitarian society holds are for sharing equally and equal participation. Simply there are no classes. Ranked society mostly is agricultural communities who hierarchically grouped from the chief who is viewed to have a status in the society. In this society, people are clustered regarding status and prestige and not by access to power and resources. The chief is the most influential person followed by his family and relative, and those further related to him are less ranked. Stratified society is societies which horizontally ranked into the upper class, middle class, and lower class. The classification is regarding wealth, power, and prestige. The upper class are mostly the leaders and are the most influential in the society. It's possible for a person in the society to move from one stratum to the other. The social status is also hereditable from one generation to the next.
There are five systems or types of social inequality: wealth inequality, treatment and responsibility inequality, political inequality, life inequality, and membership inequality. Political inequality is the difference brought about by the ability to access governmental resources which therefore have no civic equality. In treatment and responsibility differences, some people benefit more and can quickly receive more privileges than others. In working stations, some are given more responsibilities and hence better compensation and more benefits than the rest even when equally qualified. Membership inequality is the number of members in a family, nation or faith. Life inequality is brought about by the disparity of opportunities which, if present, improve a person’s life quality. Finally, income and wealth inequality is the disparity due to what an individual can earn on a daily basis contributing to their total revenue either monthly or yearly.
The major examples of social inequality include income gap, gender inequality, health care, and social class. In health care, some individuals receive better and more professional care compared to others. They are also expected to pay more for these services. Social class differential comes evident during the public gathering where upper-class people given the best places to seat, the hospitality they receive and the first priorities they receive.
Status in society is of two types which are
One's social location in a society's overall structure of
The variables considered most important in explaining inequality and the manner in which those variables combine to produce the inequities and their social consequences in a given society can change across time and place. In addition to interest in comparing and contrasting social inequality at local and national levels, in the wake of today's