Social stratification in American Society is not clearly defined or determined; however, the social scientist has developed a socioeconomic stratification of American society. Americans believe in a three-class society: rich, poor, and middle class, and most Americans consider themselves middle class. In reality, American society is more diverse and incongruous and there is a vast difference between people. The basic determinants that make up social class are wealth, education, income, and occupation. Some sociologists have divided American society into six distinct categories including: rich or upper class, upper middle class, lower middle class, lower and poor class, and lower class.
People belonging to the same social class are believed to share similar social positions, ways of thinking, and lifestyles; others are opposed to this idea and believe that we cannot generalize the characteristics of people to each other. Social class creates a hierarchy and identity for the people of each class.
One of the indications of social class in the United States is income in terms of the individual or household, and it is one of the most important indicators of social class. Those families with two income earners are in a better position. Per capita income, which means the amount of money allocated to each individual member, is also another important determinant in social stratification. It can be said that families with fewer members are better off.
Another indication of social stratification is education that is related to occupation and income. Higher education itself needs money and tuition, so it is clear that most of the time better-off families can afford a better education for their children: they can afford better schools and private schools, colleges and universities. As a result, there is an interrelation between money and education.
One of the most prominent characteristics of social class is culture: people of the same social class tend to have similar behaviors; although this behavior and culture is not something fixed and changes with social mobility: people who move up or down in their social stratification will acquire the behavior of that social group. But there is also diversity within the same social group. One of the important terms in American culture and literature is the concept of “class descent”: according to this concept, each successive generation will have a higher standard of living than its predecessors. Another important characteristic of American social class is the status achieved in place of the statues described; it means that regardless of your original statues, one can become rich and successful and move up the social ladder. But in reality, this idealistic view cannot be completely true: many people of color still suffer from racial prejudice and, as a result, cannot have the proper education and a good occupation, which is perhaps the most important class component. These people have lower incomes and the cycle will continue into later generations. Despite existing injustice and inequalities, America is seen as the land of opportunity, the land whose streets are paved with gold. Although this belief is exaggerated, Americans have improved their financial situation with their hard work and perseverance.