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Social issues 206 chapter 2 cont'd

by: Lam8o

Social issues 206 chapter 2 cont'd SOC 206

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Continuation of chapter will be on first exam
Social Issues 206
Dr. Christopher Mele
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lam8o on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 206 at University at Buffalo taught by Dr. Christopher Mele in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views. For similar materials see Social Issues 206 in Social Science at University at Buffalo.


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Date Created: 09/15/16
Economic inequality in the United States Any discussion of problems such as poverty must include income and wealth. • • Income is salary or wages from a job plus earnings from investments and other sources • Wealth is the value of all the economic assets owned by a person or family, minus any debts Taxation • Taxation is used by the government to reduce economic inequality • Through progressive taxation, tax goes up as income increases The Rich: A social profile • Those families who fall within the top 10% of income distribution • Income of at least $169,000 on average $277,00 • More likely to be wealthy: • Older people • Men • Married couple • Non-Hispanic whites (67% of white families earn more than $50,0000 compared with 41% of African American and Hispanic families.) The Poverty Line Poverty line: income level set by the government for the purpose of counting the poor • roughly 3x what a family needs to eat a basic nutritious Poverty Rate • In 2012, there were 46.5 million people in poverty, for a poverty rate of 15% The Poverty Gap • The poverty gap is the difference between the official poverty line and the actual income of the typical poor household • 2012: average poverty gap of $10,635 for families with children • Poverty gap has been increasing The poor: Who is at greatest risk? • Race: African Americans and Hispanics • Age: children • Gender: women • Family patterns: single mothers • Region: the South and the West Working vs. Nonworking Poor Working poor • 15% of the heads of poor families work full time and remain below poverty line • Full-time work at the minimum wage yields income well below poverty line for family of four. Nonworking Poor • 55% of the heads of poor families don’t work at all 30% work part-time • Why? - Poor health - Lack of skills - Lack of jobs - Lack of child care Defining poverty Moral views of poverty - “We should all be equally well off.” -Egalitarian view - “Some people should be better off, they work harder.” relative definition- Elitist view - “We should be equal but no one needs to have more than they need.” - “People who are poor are defective morally and intellectually.”- absolute definition Operationalization • Poverty is a difficult concept to operationalize • It has poltical implications - governments are supposed to deal with it • It has social implications-poverty can be a source of same and low status for individuals Absolute poverty • This is based on a measurement of the absolute minimum a person requires for biological survival: Food • • Water • Warmth and Shelter • Clothing Problems… • Absolute definitions still tend to be subjective about the minimum requirements needed for life We need things for mental health for instance…books, tv, pets • • Standards of acceptable health and food quality change over time Relative poverty • Relative property is when people are compared to those around them, or to what others might reasonably be expected to afford • It can include lack of: • Educational opportunity • Material possessions • Health Care • Good quality housing • Civil Rights • Social opportunity The Underclass The Underclass: poor people who live in areas with high concentrations of poverty and limited opportunities for schooling or work • Persistent poverty vs temporary poverty • Hypersegregation, in inner cities and rural areas


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