Social class

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Social class is the sociological term for the layering or stratification of society from high to low.


See Social History, U.S.

Class models

Class conflict: Marxist models

Class and strata: Weberian models

Social mobility: in one lifetime

Social mobility across generations

Stratification in historical perspective

Stratification in comparative perspective

Class and political behavior

see Party Systems

Class and lifestyles

Upper classes


Brady (2003) reviews the shortcomings of the official U.S. measure of poverty. Iy was invented in the 1960s and based on the cost of food, which accounted for a third of the budget of poor people at that time, but much less today. Brady examines several theoretical and methodological advances in poverty measurement. He argues that ideal measures of poverty should:

  1. measure comparative historical variation effectively;
  2. be relative rather than absolute;
  3. conceptualize poverty as social exclusion;
  4. assess the impact of taxes, transfers, and state benefits; and
  5. integrate the depth of poverty and the inequality among the poor.

His article evaluates sociological studies published since 1990 for their consideration of these criteria. Brady advocates three alternative poverty indices: the interval measure, the ordinal measure, and the sum of ordinals measure. Finally, using the Luxembourg Income Study, he examines the empirical patterns with these three measures, across advanced capitalist democracies from 1967 to 1997. He provides estimates of these poverty indices.

Rural poverty