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Ch. 11 Social Class
Social Class in Canada n n n We tend to underestimate the extent of social inequality and stratification in Canada We believe in `meritocracy' We tend to interact with people who are close to us in the class system
Double Diamond Model (Perrucci and Wysong, 1999) n n Proposed to describe US class system Top 20% is the privileged class q n n n Includes superclass of very rich, high level managers, elite professionals Lower 80% is new working class Shows major class division between “the privileged class” and “the new working class” Inequality in Canada growing and we are becoming more similar to this model now.
2016 Census (http: //www. statcan. gc. ca/pub/11 -627 m/11 -627 -m 2017026 -eng. htm)
Income Inequality in Canada (from Income in Canada, 2016 Census of Population, statcan. gc. ca, 2017 ) n n n median household income in Canada is $70, 336 (after tax $61, 348) generally higher in the West than the East 14% of Canadians lived in low income households q n n n Recent immigrants, the disabled, Indigenous people and children in single-parent families were more likely to fall into the low-income category. wealthiest 20% of households account have 43% of all income earned, while the poorest 20% take in 4%! richest 10% of individuals make over $80, 400 the very rich (top 1% or the 272, 600 individuals make more than $191, 100
Net Worth of by Quintile Canada 2012 n All wealth (real estate, pensions, RRSPs and all other investments) minus all debt for individuals and households.
The Very Rich in Canada n n overwhelmingly male, between the ages of 45 and 54, almost always married or living in a common-law relationship more than two thirds of the top one per cent had a university degree, compared to 20. 9 per cent of the total population q Average income for very rich is $381, 300 each, 10 times the average Canadian income of $38, 700
Ethnic Disparity in Income n n 2 nd generation Canadians make more than national median a full-time worker median income is $50, 699 in 2013 the median for a visible-minority worker was just $45, 128. First Nations full-time worker, the median income was $41, 684
Occupational Prestige Wealth is an important source of power n Occupation is a major determinant of income, wealth, and power n Physicians, lawyers, and engineers are ranked near the top on prestige, while cashiers and janitors are ranked near the bottom n
According to Workopolis (2017)…. n n Average salary in Canada is $986 a week Salaries by sector: q q q q Finance and insurance $ 70, 668. 0 Professional, scientific and technical services $ 70, 408. 0 Public administration $ 65, 572. 0 Wholesale trade $ 62, 712. 0 Educational services $ 54, 600. 0 Health care and social assistance $ 46, 228. 0 Retail trade $ 28, 808. 0 Accommodation and food services $ 20, 488. 0
Education n n There is a strong link between education and income Educational differences between men and women in similar jobs are minimal However, women have completed more years of schooling than men overall Why the disparity?
Income Inequality by Gender 2013 n Women between the ages of 45 and 54 earn on average about $23, 600 less than men in that same cohort.
Pink Tax 2016 (http: //www. cbc. ca/news/business/pink-tax-1. 3553524)
Read…. n Gender wage gap adding to income inequality. . . (CBCNews, Oct. 18/2016) n 'It's either overt or covert hostility': Why only 2 women made list. . . (CBCNews Jan. 4/2017)
Canadian Stratification Factors Ancestry: most of the rich gained their position through inheritance n Race and Ethnicity: higher average incomes for Japanese, British and French vs. Chinese, Black, and Aboriginal n Gender: women earn less income, accumulate less wealth, and have lower occupational prestige than men n
Class in Canada n four main social classes in Canada: q q The upper class The middle class The working class The lower class
Upper Class n Upper-uppers inherit enormous wealth High society, “old money” q <1% of the Canadian population q n Lower-Uppers: “working rich” but excluded from high society q q q 2 to 4 % of the population Have high levels of education Success stories (e. g. : ". com millionaires”)
Middle Class n 40 -50% of the Canadian population q n Upper-Middles: professionals, educated, accumulate wealth q n greater ethnic diversity children go to college or university Average-middles: middle or lower management or highly skilled blue-collar jobs q some wealth, children go to local college
Working Class n n n Also the lower middle class 33% of the population Blue-collar jobs, often “dead-end” jobs Little or no accumulation of wealth, may own their house in low-cost neighbourhoods Their children have little chance of going to university
Lower Class The poor, 20% of the Canadian population n Some depend of social welfare n Working poor: Lack of work and little income renders life unstable and insecure n q Low-prestige jobs, minimal income and little intrinsic satisfaction
Social Mobility n n Upward: With college degree or higherpaying job Downward: Drop out of school, losing a job, business failure, or divorce Intragenerational mobility: Change in social position during one person’s lifetime Intergenerational mobility: upward or downward social mobility of children in relation to their parents q But…Wages, full-time work sliding for young Canadians. . . (CBCNews Dec. 5/2016
Factors Affecting Social Mobility n Long-term trend has been upward but… q q q Occupational inheritance occurs for men whose fathers are professional, white-collared, and farmers Class background still affects education Women’s opportunity for upward mobility has been less than men’s, but income gap is narrowing
Poverty n n n Relative poverty: deprivation of some people in relation to those who have more Absolute poverty: deprivation of resources that is life-threatening Measured by “low-income cut-off” (LICO): People who spend at least 55% of pre-tax income for food, shelter, and clothing, varying by size of community
The Poor in Canada Formerly the elderly, now children n Higher rates for poorly educated n Higher rates for visible minorities and Aboriginals n “Feminization of poverty”: n q The trend by which women represent an increasing proportion of the poor, e. g. , female single parents
Feminization of Poverty
LICO n n n Low-income threshold varies by family size, community size and region of Canada Cut-off when spend more than 63% of after-tax income on food, shelter and clothing Nearly 5 million Canadians (13. 8%) are considered low income (in London 16. 7%) one in six children (16. 3%) had in low-income status in 2012. Children living with single mothers 44. 5% Seniors, 6. 2% for those who lived in families q much higher – 28. 5% – when living alone
LICO CALCULATION (1992, after tax, for family of 4, pop. 30000 -99999)
LICO, LIM, MBM levels in London Area* (https: //www. london. ca/About-London/community-statistics/social-issues/Pages/Poverty. aspx) * Click on URL above for explanation of LICO, LIM, MBM
Watch: n Richard Wilkinson: How Inequality Harms Societies (2011 Ted Talk) q Wilkinson is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham UK and author of the book “The Spirit Quest”
Deficiency Theory: Innate Inferiority n Herbert Spencer q q n Arthur Jensen q q n Social Darwinism: Belief that the place of people in the stratification is a function of their ability and effort The poor are poor because they are unfit Advocates there is a strong possibility that blacks are less intelligent than whites Argues that 80% of IQ is inherited and 20% attributed to environment Richard Herrnstein (The Bell Curve) q q Argues that mental ability is inherited Argues that job prestige and earnings depend on mental ability
Critique of Innate Inferiority Argument n n n Classic example of “blaming the victim” Stresses that poverty is inevitable Appeals to bigots Validates the IQ test as a legitimate measure of intelligence Justifies unequal schooling Encourages policy makers to ignore poverty or to attack its effects rather than its causes
Culture of Poverty Theory: Cultural Inferiority n n Culture of Poverty: View that the poor are qualitatively different in values and life styles from the rest of society and that these cultural differences explain continued poverty Critique: Reasoning blames the victim In reality the poor share the dominant values of society (Merton’s Strain Theory) Also, the poor hold an alternate set of values that are a result of adaptation to the conditions of poverty
Structural Functionalism n n n n Some poverty is inevitable Social pathology theories: personal deficiency Social disorganization theory: too much change Modern functional theory: inequality is useful Social inequality serves the function of motivating people to work hard to gain resources. For whom is it functional that professional athletes earn so much more than child care workers? Poverty is functional for those who work in the poverty industry, e. g. , government workers
Social Conflict: Political Economy of Society n Under capitalism, the distribution of goods and services is determined by private profit rather than by collective need q n n Lower pay, job insecurity, investment decisions made without regard for employee impact. How society is organized creates poverty and makes certain kinds of people especially vulnerable to being poor Institutional Discrimination: When the social arrangements and accepted ways of doing things in society disadvantage minority groups
Symbolic Interactionist Theory n n n How is the problem defined? Typical definitions include: Blaming the victim: saying the problem resides in the person with the problem Culture of poverty: the poor have different values and beliefs than middle and upper classes Cultural capital: social assets, like values, beliefs and competencies in language, that are required for success But tend to ignore structural factors like stratification, sexism and racism.
Can Inequality Be Reduced? Possible structural solutions: n Create jobs with liveable wages n n Distribute wealth more equally through taxation Incentives for low-income people to build assets Tax benefits, daycare for low-income workers Economic assistance to low-income people n Invest in low-income communities n Improve social assistance and EI