Research Paper on Social Class and Poverty

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1769 Words
Date:  2022-09-11


Social class groups in society are based on hierarchical social categories. Social stratification is categorized into the middle, lower, and upper class. Class is a subject of analysis for a political scientist, social historians, anthropologists, and sociologists. The lower class people live in extreme poverty characterized by unemployment, and homelessness. In this class, few individuals have completed high school, lack medical care, housing, decent clothing, vocational training, and food. The media portrays the lower class as drug abusers and criminals.

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The middle class is those people who have acquired proper education and are white collars employees. They include cashiers, waitresses, and dishwashers. They are underpaid and may lack opportunity for academic or career advancement. Skilled workers may comprise of plumbers, carpenters, and electricians.

The upper-class peoples are those who are considered to hold almost a quarter of the country's wealth. They are few in the society and usually lives in their expensive and exclusive estates mostly within capitals and big towns (Ayscue & Orfield 2015). They live prestigious and are filthy rich since mostly they owe more than what they can spend. Individuals may share the same economic, cultural, social, or education status, although in some cases, others may live in a state of vulnerability. Social class and poverty work closely in most cases. Poverty refers to as a state where one lack money or material possession. Absolute or extreme poverty is a situation where a person lacks the necessities like clothing, shelter, and food (Bak &Larsen, 2015). Every country or the whole world has some people who strive to make ends meet. The problem of financial constraints has adverse effects on many homesteads since some individuals may lack finances to acquire basic needs. Hence, the paper relates social class and poverty in connection to individuals living in Western North Carolina

Social Class Theories Concerning Poverty

According to Marx, the class is a group of individuals who have a common relationship to the means (resources and facilities) of producing goods such as machines, factories, and tools. Based on Marxism conflict theory, social inequality may create intergroup conflict like rich versus poor, which brings differences in interests (Houtman, 2017). People can belong to more than one class, depending on the control they exercise. For instance, an administrative assistant in a big company has a high level of regulation, unlike other employees, although he/she is under the control of a powerful CEO. It means the executive assistant might be identified as an upper-class manager at the corporation while outside may have less economic and social power. Therefore, social class depends on individual position one occupies in a particular society. Because one may be termed as a middle class in a specific community but when in other places he/she falls under a lower level.

On the other hand, Weber argued that factors like occupation prestige and education might determine the class hierarchies. According to Weber theory of class, social structure is based on fame (status position), wealth (assets and income), and power (ability to attain a goal) (Beetham, 2018). For example, high-level managers in big companies do not own the business but usually gain profits which the organization generates. Hence, having property grants, both prestige, and economic power. Weber also argued that social class could be acquired in other ways rather than property ownership. For instance, gifted intellectuals or athletes can obtain prestige without owning the universities or sports teams. Hence, both influence and wealth can give one social class in society, although the lack of both results in poverty.

Relationship between Poverty and Social Class in Western North Carolina

Education Gap

The individual differences in education bring the disparities in social class. Education is the primary tool that balances society. According to Ayscue and Orfield (2015), social status determines one class structure based on the level of education. For instance, the upper-class people have education knowledge, which boosts their desire for academic advancement. It means that they encourage their children to work extra hard to achieve education to prepare them for better employment. Their kids are accessible to high-class schools with qualified instructors and facilities. While children originating from humble families lack proper knowledge due to financial constraints as well as parental support. These kids end up living in a state of poverty during adulthood. Sheehan and Tomlinson (2018) noted that people who are high-income earners might make their social status consistent even in the younger generation, unlike lower-class individuals. Therefore, the upper-class people continue to encourage poverty in low-income earners because they offer quality education to their children to ensure they dominate the high paying employment. Hence, people from marginalized places lack educational support to boost their living standards to eradicate health issues and financial crisis. Therefore, persons who have achieved academically are identified as an upper class because they hold a high position in society.


The increase in corruption has become rampant in Western North Carolina, which plays a significant role in poverty among low-class people. Corruption in public sectors is the act of misuse of government property for private gains such as nepotism and embezzlement of funds, bribery, fraud, and extortion. Bak and Larsen (2015) argued that the increase in corruption minimizes economic investment, hinders competition, distorts the market, and create inefficiencies through raising the cost of doing business and income inequality. Thus, people who hold big governmental offices are upper class, and through their greediness and egocentrism, they embezzle public funds leading to poverty. Corruption enhances inequality in access to public infrastructure, and it increases permanent distortions where some people benefit from others (Houtman, 2017). Besides, the rise in bribery makes upper-class individuals corrupt for high paying jobs for their children a scenario which makes other kids from low-income families to live in the state of vulnerability. Hence, the increase in corruption results in low-class people living in extreme poverty due to inequality in public services like health care, education, and employment where the wealthy people dominate the government positions.


The increase in the level of unemployment is a major social problem in Western North Carolina. Lack of jobs opportunities is an undesirable state that raises economic insecurity, and once prolonged, it may have adverse impacts on people lives and living conditions. According to Sheehan and Tomlinson (2018), the rate of unemployment is high among low socioeconomically groups than in the middle or upper class. Social class basing on people's occupation is closely linked to labor market position and economic activity of individuals. When the nature of work changes, mainly due to industrial downsizing or machinery revolution, manual workers faces a threat of being redundant from the worker's point of view (Sheehan & Tomlinson, 2018). They may also get employed on a contract basis or short periods and have restrictions on access to sick pay scheme and career opportunity advancement. Because, the non-manual employees are upper class, they enjoy better protection in case of any change within the organization. Besides, the motivation for workers also differs since the reward for lower-class employees is short-term and concrete such as overtime wages or piecework extras. While under upper services contract, the workers' motivation may be long-term, that is career development opportunities. Various studies suggested that children from the lower class families may have limited access to secure and permanent employment regardless of academic qualification. Since the prominent positions are inherited by kids from wealthy parents who have dominated the office (Forrester & Nowrasteh, 2018). It means, it difficult for a vulnerable child with equal qualification to acquire similar job opportunity with high-income earners children due to nepotism as many are employed in manual services.


According to Rainwater (2017), when one is suffering from chronic diseases, it tends to drain the finances leading to the state of poverty. For instance, a person who occupies the upper class in society may suffer chronic condition a situation which makes him/her use the available resources to access quality health facilities. Thus, sickness can cause one to use the accumulated wealth in hospitalization resulting in vulnerability.


Social inequality may emerge due to social stereotyping, which leads to uneven distribution of public resources or economic assets (Mallory & Sears, 2016). False assumptions about a particular society may make the government discriminate when it comes to equality leading to more vulnerability among people. The places which are rejected belong to lower class people a situation which makes them live in a condition of poverty since they lack encouragement to engage in education or business opportunities. Besides, different scholars argued that the rate of vulnerability would continue to thrive among low-income earners individuals because they live in environmentally vulnerable and politically fragile (Rainwater, 2017). It is hard to reduce poverty in these communities due to climate change, as people cannot begin agriculture. Also, political differences do not encourage investors in those regions, making people live in a state of poverty.

Besides, in most cases, wealth-income families do not associate with low-income earners people to boost their financial status as there is an issue of disparity. According to sociologist, inequality in terms of social class may result in individuals living in a state of vulnerability in Western North Carolina (Rainwater, 2017). It means some regions or people are denied access to equal public facilities like fast and good health care, education, and other essential things due to their background. For instance, there are some health facilities associated with the upper-class group, which are not accessible to the lower or middle class due to issues of the financial crisis. Various studies argued that persons from lower-level might face discrimination even in the workplace where they are assigned a particular task, unlike others. It seems that individual disparities are rampant based on social class. Hence, differences in social class result in discrimination in a scenario which leads to regional imbalance due to inequalities in education, occupation, and business.

Inequality and social stratification exacerbate the impact of poverty for individuals who belong to a marginalized or disadvantaged group. According to sociologists, women who experience poverty are high compared to men because their job opportunities are limited. Also, women are more likely than males to become single parents a situation which makes them fall under a lower class category. Also, when older people stop working or increase in their medical costs, the level of income decreases contributing to poverty. Different studies suggested that children from low-class families may experience mental and physical health problems due to crime rate and stress. According to Kermani and Aldemir (2015), 70 percent of children and youth who involve in prostitution originate from low-income earners families. It means that disadvantaged people participate in delinquency acts like theft, and prostitution in acquisition for better living. Besides...

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