The Impacts of Social Class: Crash Course Sociology #25

The Impacts of Social Class: Crash Course Sociology #25


Class matters.
You probably already know that. And not only because you’re a student of
sociology, but because you’re a person who
lives in a society. But do you know how much it really matters? Social class is huge determinant of many of
the most fundamental aspects of modern life – from your education, to your beliefs, as well
as your values, your occupation, your income, and
not only how you live, but also how you die. So let’s talk about how class plays out
in the lives of Americans today. [Theme Music] Class starts to matter at the very beginning
of your life. When we discussed socialization a few
episodes ago, we talked about anticipatory socialization,
or learning to fit into a group you’ll someday
be a part of, like a gender or a race. And one type of anticipatory socialization
is class socialization, where parents convey to their children
the values that go along with being upper class
or middle class or working class. Let’s take a simple example. Suppose you’re a parent and your kid absolutely
refuses to eat broccoli. How do you respond? Do you make them clear their plate and say
that they shouldn’t waste food? Or do you allow them to make decisions for
themselves about what they eat? Now, you may be thinking, “What? How does eating broccoli have anything to
do with class?” But how parents from different walks of life
approach parenting can differ a lot by class, as American sociologist Annette Lareau found
in her research on parenting styles. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble to look at
how social class can affect what kind of parent
you are, or what kind you have. In the 1990s, Lareau’s research focused on observing families of elementary school students from upper-middle class and working class backgrounds. In doing this, she realized that parents had
very different approaches to how they educated
and disciplined their kids. She found that upper-middle class parents
tend to be very involved in their kid’s social
and academic lives. Think scheduled play dates, after school activities,
checking their homework assignments every night. The stereotype of a suburban helicopter mom
isn’t too far from the mark for some of these families. By contrast, working class parents – who
were more likely to have less time and money
to devote to these activities – were more likely to be hands off in
structuring their kid’s free time. These kids might be more likely to be playing
with whoever is around their neighborhood than
going on playdates. Working class parents also tend to put a greater
emphasis on obedience and discipline compared to their
upper middle class counterparts, Lareau found. While a working class parent might tell
their kids to eat their broccoli “Because I said so,” an upper middle class parent
is more likely to talk through decisions with their
children in an effort to encourage autonomy. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So, yes, a toddler’s distaste for broccoli
and their parents’ reaction to it, can tell
us something about class. And these trends in parenting aren’t the
only difference in values and beliefs that
we see across classes. Political views tend to vary across class
groups, too, with upper class Americans being more likely to be
fiscally conservative and socially progressive, and lower
class Americans being more likely to be the opposite. Even religion varies by class. Upper income Americans are more heavily
represented in liberal Protestant groups like
Episcopalians and Presbyterians, as well as
Judaism, Hinduism and Atheism, whereas lower income Americans are more likely
to identify as Evangelical Protestants or Catholics. But beliefs and values aren’t the only thing
that vary by social class. A large component of class differences plays
out through educational attainment and its
consequences for success later in life. Education is sometimes called the “Great
Equalizer.” The more people who have access to quality
education, the more equal a society gets. Or so the thinking goes. But whether you get a quality education varies
by the social class you’re born into. So we might be concerned that education will
have the opposite effect, and will actually help pass
inequalities from one generation on to the next. There are a few ways that social class comes
into play when we talk about education in the US. First, where do you live? Income segregation, or the tendency for families of
similar income levels to live in the same neighborhoods,
is incredibly common in the United States. If you’ve ever gone apartment hunting in a big city,
this might not come as a surprise to you. An apartment in a “good” neighborhood,
or an area with low crime, good schools,
and better quality housing, costs way more than a home where crime
and pollution are higher and education and
job access is inconsistent. One reason that access to education
varies by class is that public schools in the
US are funded mainly at the local level, so kids who grow up in affluent neighborhoods
tend to have access to better schools, because
those communities provide more funding. So, living in a better neighborhood tends
to mean access to better educational facilities, as well as to technology like computers,
good teachers, and a wider variety of classes
and extra-curriculars. And that’s assuming you go to a public school. Upper class children are more likely to attend
private schools – and this trend continues
when we get past high school. We mentioned this last week – children who grow up working class or
low-income are much less likely to attend college, and those who do are much more likely to attend
public state schools or two-year community colleges. Among elite colleges, most students don’t
come from low-income families; they come from
the very top of the income distribution. A recent study of social class and college attendance
found that 38 elite colleges including five in the Ivy
League – Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, and Yale – had more students who came from the top 1% than
the entire bottom 60%of the income distribution. Some of this inequality in college access is
helped along by the policy of preferential
admittance for so-called “legacy” students, whose parents or other family members
attended the college. Policies like this entrench class inequalities across
generations by making it less likely that those from
lower socioeconomic classes will move up the ladder. Plus, the social networks formed within prestigious
colleges often are the stepping stones toward jobs
and financial success later in life, which again makes it more likely that inequality
will get passed on to a new generation. And of course, political and economic power
tend to be concentrated among those at the
top of the social class ladder. Dreaming of being president when you grow
up? Of the ten presidents who have held office in the
last 50 years, 6 attended an Ivy League school
for either their undergrad or postgrad studies. Every single one had at least a bachelor’s
degree. So education can seem less like the great
equalizer in this case than the great barrier. Without a college degree, there are jobs that
are pretty much impossible to get. The jobs that you can get without a college
degree tend to come with lower prestige, lower pay,
and a greater risk of occupational dangers. Which brings us to the last class difference
we’ll be talking about today: health. Social class affects how you live – but
it also affects how you die. Mortality and disease rates vary by social
class, with upper class Americans living
longer and healthier lives. A man in the 80th percentile, or top of the
income distribution, lives an average of 84 years, while a man at the bottom, in the 20th
percentile, lives an average of 78 years. Women live longer than men typically.
Yay for us! But the income gap is still similar here, with
women in the 80th percentile living about 4.5 years
longer than those in the 20th percentile. Why the huge gap? Some reasons might seem obvious – if you
have more money, you can probably afford
better health care. Or for that matter, afford any health care. Others are maybe less straightforward. For example, low income Americans tend to
eat less healthy food. Now, is that just a matter of different choices
made by different people, or is it a systematic
pattern that links class with eating habits? Well, oftentimes unhealthy foods are cheaper,
both in terms of money and time. Lower class Americans tend to have less leisure time
and less money to spend on cooking healthy meals. After all, it takes a lot less time and money to
pick up McDonald’s than to spend an hour cooking
a meal with expensive organic vegetables. Additionally, many low income Americans
live in what are known as food deserts, or neighborhoods without easy access to
fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables. Other systematic class differences come from
the occupations that different classes tend to hold. Upper and middle class Americans are more
likely to be in white collar, full time jobs, which generally have lower exposure to dangerous
materials and lower risks of accidents on the job. Not to mention more flexible work schedules. Less danger and less stress=better health. Plus, full-time jobs are more likely to provide
benefit packages including health insurance
and paid sick days. It’s much harder to take care of your health
if you can’t take the time off work to go to the
doctor or rest and recover. But that’s the reality for many working
class Americans. Class gaps in health outcomes are clearly
about more than just having the money to
pay for better healthcare. It’s about occupation, neighborhood,
income, education, and all the different ways that advantages like
these can overlap to determine your life course. That’s why social class matters; it gives us a way to identify the
advantages and disadvantages that different
groups of people share, and understand the consequences of
those advantages and disadvantages. Today, we discussed three types of class differences
we see playing out in the United States. First, the beliefs and values parents pass
on to the next generation will vary by class. Second, there are class gaps in educational
attainment which help perpetuate inequality
across generations. And finally, Americans of lower socioeconomic
status tend to have worse health and shorter
lifespans than those with higher class status. Next time we’ll focus on a different aspect of
socioeconomic stratification: social mobility – or, how your social position can change over
your life time, or across generations. Crash Course Sociology is filmed in the Dr.
Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT, and it’s
made with the help of all these nice people. Our Animation Team is Thought Cafe and Crash
Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for everyone,
forever, you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows
you to support the content you love. Speaking of Patreon, we’d like to thank all of our
patrons in general, and we’d like to specifically thank
our Headmaster of Learning Ben Holden-Crowther. Thank you so much for your support.

100 thoughts on “The Impacts of Social Class: Crash Course Sociology #25

  1. It's just so … paintbrushy. Start in with good facts and support, ends up with convenient and not-quite-on-the-mark assumptions and rickety extrapolations.
    And also, a series of sad realizations to come to, too.

  2. Please do factors that affect educational success such as cultural capital, attitude to learning etc. It would be hugely helpful for people like me doing A-level sociology in the UK

  3. There is no such thing as a "food desert". A healthy diet is perfectly possible with preserved vegetables (canned, frozen, etc). They don't need to be fresh.

    Fresh vegetables used to be seasonally limited until the late 20th century, at least in boreal countries. That didn't damage people's health. It wasn't like all Canadians had scurvy throughout the winter, until tropical fruit was ubiquitous.

  4. i think you may be confused, sociology is the study of human group behavior, i think this was supposed to go in crash course socialismology

  5. Just change the class to caste & it applies perfectly to the India as well -_- Makes me wonder is there really any difference or does the difference is artificially created by linking it to Majority religion of the region so that by the Judeo-Christian worldview prevails.

  6. These talking points would make sense in the 70:s.

    An education nowadays "might" change your social mobility, depending on the education. While programmes preparing the student for a future career (medicine, law) may raise incomes others (social sciences) yield nothing more than student loans.

    In many western countries professional carpenters/electricians/plumbers etc are actually out-earning many academics.

  7. It's theoretically easier to separate groups of people for easier governance or control. If everyone was treated equally not only resources would be strained, there would be no need for any real major governmental structure or control. People could just govern themselves and we could all trust what is done or what is proposed because we're all the same and there is no need for competition or selfishness.

  8. Sorry to comment this here since it's unrelated, but PLease do a series on Music Theory
    im gonna die next year with out it….

  9. This series is very interesting, but could you maybe make videos that aren't all about the states? Atleast the 3 last videos have been basicly just different reasons why I am so glad I'm not an american. I would like to learn more about sosiology in general 🙂 Of course one needs examples, but maybe include ones from europe, asia etc. too?

  10. Waitwaitwaitwait wait a minute. Paid sick days are considered part of a "benefit package"? Shouldn't it be more ethically sound to allow your workers time to recover, without fear for their salary, so that they may come back healthy and ready to work?

    Even from the most cold, calculating and clinical perspective it makes sense: refusing to pay for a worker's sick days encourages the worker to go to work even when it risks their health, becoming less and less effective at their job as the condition worsens and is not given a chance to improve; furthermore, if the sickness is contagious, they can also spread it to other workers. In the long run such a situation decreases productivity and increases the rate of turnover, which is yet another expense. Who wants to waste time and money organizing job adverts, interviews, paperwork, training and so on more often than is strictly necessary?

  11. Great video. One thing I find interesting in the comments is that with all you said so many people are keying in on the organic foods mention. I think what they are missing is that you were drawing a distinction between unhealthy fast food and healthy food by pointing out obvious polar opposites. It makes what should be an obviously starker comparison to use organic because as you pointed out organic does cost more than it's non-organic counterparts. I'm not a proponent of organic but I like the usage of it in that context.

  12. my Dad would show us his muscles and say its from eating his veggies . Stuck to this day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRParS3tr0M

  13. I"m pretty upset with what I'm watching (Fact is stranger than fiction) but I am left wondering how much American exceptionalism has to do with the statistic presented.

  14. This is so out of date. No one wants to hire you with a bachelor degree unless you are coom-la-da …. other wise you are "over qualified" Get an associates and companies are willing to hire you!

  15. Or maybe the US could join the rest of the world and provide its population with proper socialised medicine. Only the US could spend the most in the world on health care per capita – while having a frankly pathetic health care system.

  16. Ridiculous to claim rich people are socially progressive. The richest tend to support conservatism. This is another way academia stigmatises working class people why not mention that these researchers have massive bias? These studies aren't objective.

    I should add that I do appreciate you at least bringing some focus to these topics and that you're restricted by time.

  17. Because of the way class and race relate to each other, those high crime and faraway neighborhoods tend to be black neighboorhoods. This is because racial segregation of the city, and because poverty hits harder on black communities, as a consequence of discrimination.

  18. This video is an 8 minute way of saying: "people with more money buy more expensive things and people with less money buy less expensive things"

    Thank you capitalism, for allowing this white haired girl to receive a pay check based almost entire on the amount of goods and services she provides for the consumer. We truly be a worse civilization without you.

  19. This video is an 8 minute way of saying: "people with more money buy more expensive things and people with less money buy less expensive things"

    Thank you capitalism, for allowing this white haired girl to receive a pay check based almost entire on the amount of goods and services she provides for the consumer. We truly be a worse civilization without you.

  20. So according to this social class logic: variation is observed between classified objects when objects are classified according to their variability. Brilliant.

    So here’s a question for YouTube to mull over. If we accept that an identified gender constitutes a class and the premises that 1) Woman are oppressed and 2) that woman live longer on average than men. Do transgender woman live shorter lives because they’re oppressed (by virtue of being a woman) or because they’re biological sexed men who identify as woman?

  21. thank you for your help and support from Peace Mode Arena and Enlightenment Consciousness online neighbor and Happy holidays

  22. People living in poverty also eat unhealthier because they tend to have had less educational opportunities and lower quality education, meaning they have less knowledge about what constitutes a nutritional meal and what does not.

  23. Thats weird I upper middle class and instead of a private school I go to a career based school that has loads of funding and in middle school a Stem school

  24. I live in Europe and I have to say that "Class matters… you know that because you're a person who lives in a society" is the second most idiotic phrase I've heard in this series. I live in a society and the idea of "class" impacts my daily life extremely little. Now what?

  25. If we took just one family from the top .1%, and put them in the high class, possibly millions would go from poor to middle class. So, redistribution of wealth is a negative way of saying, one family doesn't need to make $40 billion in stocks, doing nothing, while millions of low-income parents work endlessly to make ends meat. But, the top 1% owns everything, to include the media, that's why the media doesn't explore that notion and go in-depth. They rather sow hate and discontent and create race wars so the low income blacks and whites are more focused on each other, than the real culprit in this country. Blame the blacks, blame the whites. Blame the Mexicans entering the country illegally. No, I blame the outsourcing, price-gouging, low-wage paying, old-money having, big-business.

  26. and it is amazing that when you are from a lower class, but do go to college and have a professional occupation and have a good life style in the middle or upper middle class, how those who you left behind in poverty/lower class (family, classmates) HATE your guts.

  27. Good schools are not good because of the funding. Some of the failing districts have a high per-pupil expenditure. What makes a good school is well-behaved kids with involved parents.

  28. That's the first time I've heard someone else communicate that idea that "education" creates inequality. People should note this.

  29. I wish people (including this video) would talk more about how to solve these horrible problems rather than just about the problem in the manner of "There you have it. That's the way it is."

  30. but dont you think a big factor of education is intelligence, which is a genetic thing? intelligent people tend to be richer so couldnt that also explain why so many university grads come from rich families

  31. I live is a low socio class neighborhood, the amount of smoking among the adults is amazing, which affects their health, which affect their money

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