Social Inequality





Social Inequality

Social inequality refers to the ways in which people categorized by factor such as age, ethnicity, class and gender are positioned with respect to access to social resources and opportunities. Many forms of social inequality are shaped by cultural practices and geographical locations. Poverty is undoubtedly a major source of inequality word wide. Poverty is the position of one who lacks certain amount of money or material possession. Poverty was traditionally thought to be unavoidable mainly due to use of insufficient methods of production. Poverty creates a social divide in which different classes of people access human needs such as health care, food, clothing, water, clothing, education and shelter (Pantazis, 156). Poverty at individual level can be described by money and wealth one possesses. At institutional level such as a state, it is described by the measure of its capability to provide social amenities and infrastructure. Social amenities include schools and hospitals while infrastructures include roads and railwyas.

Poverty denies individual persons and institutions access to many opportunities. Since others have adequate resources, this keeps advantage over others and therefore leading to social inequality. Poor people hardly afford education. They may be able to only access education at lower levels such as primary where education is relatively cheaper compared to higher levels. Poor people may not as well be able to get quality education since the quality comes with more demand for money and resources. Rich people can adequately pay school fees for their children who in turn get quality education. Children from wealth backgrounds attend school without disturbances and normally achieve higher levels of education. Wealth individuals have money to spend on schooling for cots such as tutoring, private schooling and college payments. Education is crucial for one to gain experience and knowledge in certain fields. Children who achieve in education end up being employed in organizations where they are paid well and live better lives. Most children from poor backgrounds though may be bright, under-achieve in education or even other drop out and get employment in low paying casual jobs (Osberg, 56). These differences eventually stratify people in terms of income and the quality of lives they lead. Poverty still influences the opportunities an institution such as a state gets through education. In institutions where inclusive education policies have been put in place, social inequality tends to be reduced. This is reached through free or subsidized education and making it a right for every child to attend school. The quality of education offered in different countries or even districts vary according to quality of supplies, sizes of classes and payment made to teachers. Countries where larger percentage of its population get quality education is better placed in terms of social welfare compared to country which lacks quality education. Institutions with equal access of quality education to its members provide individuals capable of finding opportunities even at international level.

Health care is very crucial to human life especially with killer diseases and rapid growth of population. Deaths caused by poverty related cases reaches almost a third of total deaths occurring annually worldwide. Wealth people access better health care because they have adequate resources to seek treatment in private hospitals. They also have high life expectancy as a result of food availability. Malnutrition and hunger is the biggest threat in poverty stricken areas. People living under poverty suffer low life expectancy (Ore, 205). Poverty, therefore, denies people an opportunity to lead a comfortable health life. Institutions with proper and affordable health care to its population have strong man power. Health population is more productive and is able to seize available opportunities to create wealth. Health persons are very dynamic seeking opportunities for economic growth. Countries with health care systems that favor its people get adequate income to gather for its budgetary allocations. The living standards of healthy persons and institutions are higher because of the income its population is able to generate. Poverty level affects health standards which in turn affect productivity and hence social inequality.

Shelter is basic human need. Poverty has created social inequality in the kind of housing one is able to live in. Poor people cannot afford proper housing and water supply. Wealth people have adequate resources to find good places to set up their homes normally fitted with water supply and electricity. Security is also better with big compounds and hygienic surrounding. In most towns, certain class of people lives in certain estates which in real sense define their economic class. Most poor persons in developing countries live in slums where the cost of houses is relatively cheaper but with poor sanitation and security. As it is evident in most cities in the world, people with the same class live in certain parts of a town (Neckerman, 103). Low class people are denied opportunity to live in healthy and secure environment.

Education Policies that Address Social Inequality (EPASI) is a program supported by European Commission under the department of Education and Culture. EPASI gives detail of elements that can be employed to curb social inequality. Addressing educational inequality is essential to tackling social inequality. Identifying successful policies and examining the reasons why some groups are disadvantaged will help solve the problem. Subsidizing higher education will demystify the notion that it is meant for certain socio-economic group .Poverty is the root cause of social inequality in most parts of the world. Poverty can be eradicated by tapping the potential of women. Female population is large and promoting equality and ending discrimination against women is critical for poverty reduction. Encouraging self-employment and creation of jobs will play a central role in ending poverty. Accessibility of capital, other productive resources and land must be improved. Efforts should be put in place to reduce the percentage of under-nourished that cannot get out of poverty (Grusky & Amartya, 294). Protecting environment to eradicate is poverty critical for safe and clean water. Provision of quality secondary and higher education is necessary for acquisition of relevant skills and methods to increase productivity. Effective governance and effective administration through policies that promote cohesion and stability create an enabling environment for development.

Social inequality is the lack of equal opportunities to certain resources in the society. This disparity is cause by several factors including culture, gender, race and traditions. Social inequality is depicted by difference in education, health care, shelter and clothing. Poverty is the main cause of social disparity and affects most of the other factors. Social inequality is characterized by the continuation of unequal opportunities for different social positions within society. It contains prearranged and repeated patterns of unequal distributions of opportunities, punishments, wealth, rewards and goods. Thus, two main for measuring social inequality are: inequality of opportunities and inequality of condition.


Ore, Tracy. The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality. New York, McGraw Hill Publishers, 2011. Print.

Osberg, Lars. Economic Inequality and Poverty: International Perspectives. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2001. Print.

Grusky, David B, and Amartya K. Sen. Poverty and Inequality. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ. Press, 2006. Print.

Neckerman, Kathryn M. Social Inequality. New York, NY: Russell Sage, 2004. Print.

Pantazis, Christina. Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain: The Millennium Survey. Bristol: Policy, 2006. Print.