Talk:Social class in the United States

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Former good article Social class in the United States was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 17, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
July 7, 2008 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject United States (Rated B-class, High-importance)
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 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

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WikiProject Sociology (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Sociology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Sociology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
This article has an assessment summary page.

preston also needs one


I have twice reverted this edit, which contains what I believe to be linkspam. In order to avoid 3RR, I'm stepping aside, and I'm asking y'all to evaluate whether it is a legitimate external link or not. Shalom Hello 20:27, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

You did the right thing. The link has no business in the external links section on this article. Considering that he/she has been warned multiple times and the uncivil remakrs I just found in his/her contributions history, I have blocked the IP. Regards, Signaturebrendel 20:55, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Good article candidate 2007-07-06[edit]

First off, I would like to congratulate the editors of this article for the persistent quality of work here. For such a controversial topic, this is a very neutral article, and after reading over the article twice, I really do feel that it is worthy of GA status. However, there are a few cases of vague terms and redundancies that will need to be corrected in order to get the article to FA status. Also additional wikilinking should be applied where necessary. OSX (talkcontributions) 10:04, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

  1. Well-written: Pass
  2. Factually accurate: Pass
  3. Broad: Pass
  4. Neutrally written: Pass
  5. Stable: Pass
  6. Well-referenced: Pass
  7. Images: Pass
Thank you! Signaturebrendel 16:44, 18 July 2007 (UTC)


Did you read this? Class models, with providing more or less congruent theories on the socio-economic stratification of American have been developed by social scientists. I am not even sure what it means. Rumiton 11:42, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

It means that sociologists have devised class models that are similar to one another. It means, that even though the American class system remains ambigously defined, social scientists have developed some sort of quasi-defacto consensus on certain theories. If you can find a better way to phrase this statament, I'm all ears. Regards, Signaturebrendel 16:43, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, I think I see what is meant. I was thrown by the redundant "with" and "providing," and also because the word "life" or "society" might be missing after the adjective "American." The passive voice is a ittle confusing, too. I am sorry, I know I am pedantic, all those people who have told me so can't be wrong. How about...
Social scientists have developed class models on the socio-economic stratification of American society which give rise to more or less congruent theories.
Or perhaps Social scientists have developed class models on the socio-economic stratification of American society, USING more or less congruent theories. From the original, I am really not sure which came first, the theory or the class model. Thanks for your patience. Rumiton 12:17, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, actually its thories that give rise to models who in turn give rise to models. The current models are the result of old models being updated and new theories having been made. I replaced the sentence with Social scientists have developed class models on the socio-economic stratification of American society which feature more or less congruent theories. I think it is the most accurate statement I can make. Thanks for your input and improving the article. Signaturebrendel 18:34, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your open and helpful response. Wikipedia at its best, I think. Rumiton 10:58, 20 July 2007 (UTC)


Is a computer game graphic if a janitor really necessary?

I have not contributed to the page but have been keeping up with the changes in reading it. I don't like the graphic so much. --Kenneth M Burke 22:46, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
OK, I removed the graphic. Thanks for the feedback. Signaturebrendel 23:57, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I've looked for other janitors. You know, there was a news story about an elementary school janitor in the United States. The students liked him a lot and raised money to send him on a vacation to San Francisco. Maybe a photo? I dunno. --Kenneth M Burke 00:07, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Some articles about Joe Venable, the janitor kids love. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] --Kenneth M Burke 02:46, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

A Recent Survey[edit]

says that advanced education is correlated with affluence, but 'job outlook' is not. (talk) 23:31, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: On Hold[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria. I'm specifically going over all of the "Culture and Society" articles. I believe the article currently meets the majority of the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. However, in reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that need to be addressed. I have made minor corrections and have included several points below that need to be addressed for the article to remain a GA. Please address them within seven days and the article will maintain its GA status. If progress is being made and issues are addressed, the article will remain listed as a Good article. Otherwise, it may be delisted. If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. If you disagree with any of the issues, leave a comment after the specific issue and I'll be happy to discuss/agree with you. To keep tabs on your progress so far, either strike through the completed tasks or put checks next to them.

Needs inline citations:

  1. The quote in the "Income" section needs an inline citation.
  2. "Not once in a professional middle-class home did I see a young boy shake his father's hand in a well-taught manly gesture... Not once did I hear a middle-class parent scornfully-or even sympathetically-call a crying boy a sissy or in any way reprimand him for his tears... even as young as six or seven, the working class boys seemed more emotionally controlled-more like miniature men-than those in the middle-class families."
  3. The quote in the "Corporate elite" section needs an inline citation. It has been tagged since August 2007.
  4. The quote in "Working class" section needs an inline citation.

Other issues:

  1. The lead needs to be expanded to three or four paragraphs to better summarize the article. See WP:LEAD guidelines.
  2. "Many politically powerful people make money before coming to office, but in general the political power elite have official incomes in the $150,000 to $185,000 range; members of Congress are paid $165,000, and are effectively required to have a residence in their district as well as one in Washington." Single sentence shouldn't stand alone. Either expand on the information present or incorporate it into another paragraph.

This article covers the topic well and if the above issues are addressed, I believe the article can remain a GA. I will leave the article on hold for seven days, but if progress is being made and an extension is needed, one may be given. I will leave messages on the talk pages of the main contributors to the article along with the related WikiProjects so that the workload can be shared. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Happy editing! --Nehrams2020 (talk) 05:10, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Sweeps Review: Failed[edit]

Unfortunately, since the issues weren't fixed, I have regrettably delisted the article according to the requirements of the GA criteria. If the issues are fixed, consider renominating the article at WP:GAN. With a little work, especially with a collaboration among the two WikiProjects, it should have no problems getting back up to GA status. If you disagree with this review, you can seek an alternate opinion at Good article reassessment. If you have any questions let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I have updated the article history to reflect this review. Happy editing! --Nehrams2020 (talk) 02:18, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Image caption[edit]

The image caption for File:A monument of working class.JPG, currently used in the lead, includes "A monument to the working and supporting classes...". That description is incorrect. The Mechanics Monument (originally known as the Donahue Memorial Fountain) was commissioned by James Mervyn Donahue in memory of his father, James Donahue, founder of Union Iron Works. (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) It was dedicated to mechanics. (sources: 1, 2, inscription) The monument isn't honoring the entire "working" and supporting classes (What does supporting class mean?). That being said, I'm not sure it really belongs in the lead (or article) considering it's not related to a specific social class. Unless someone reasonably objects, I'll replace it in the next day or so. APK is ready for the tourists to leave 20:41, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Scarcity of skills LARGELY determines income inequality?[edit]

I take issue with the two mentions of this, and plan to make a minor rewrite if no one objects. While to a certain extent this is true, it breaks down in a big way in quite a few cases:

Whenever an employee, partner or affiliate is paid as a percentage of the profit, whether in the form of a bonus or a salary; in the case of a business owner or owner/CEO; those who make a living without having to work, through returns on investments, whether inherited or earned, and a few others. There is often overlap between the three of these, but they are not the same. It should be noted that a disproportionate number of the top 1% of income earners fall into one of these categories, which helps to underscore the importance of this issue.

As a short and simplified example, take the example of the owner/CEO who makes $1000/day, but who also pays his ten employees a TOTAL of $1000/day, or $100/day per person. If suddenly his business unionizes and the workers win a wage that was fifty percent more than what they were making previously, then the owner is forced to give this out of his profit, reducing his own share by half. By the reasoning of this article, mathematically that would amount to him becoming 50% less scarce, or there suddenly being two of him. This conclusion is shocking, as it flies in the face of all we know about biology and economics.

From a different perspective, income disparity fell drastically during the Great Depression. Applying the scarcity model to this circumstance, the implication is that there was either a great influx of venture capitalists during this episode, or that demand for them fell--both of which propositions are absurd and historically false.

Please respond with your thoughts, either for or against. Glyph250 (talk) 23:01, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

2.2 Income Section[edit]

"However such a conclusion is contrary to the widespread observation that upper management at many companies is less knowledgeable and competent than many of their underlings, and that their positions are largely the result of fortuitous birth situations and networking."

This sentence reeks of bias. Who specifically is gaining positions "largely" as the result of their fortuitous birth?

What studies have shown upper management is incompetent? Based on what testing? Management style?

Is networking not a talent for navigating competing interests in a organization to promote cooperation?

Blamire (talk) 12:03, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

2.2 Income Section[edit]

In some fields, like my field of social work, mgmt is NOT required to have anything other than a Bachelor's and sometimes no degree at all, whereas to work as a licensed social worker in any state (to do direct care with clients,) you MUST have at least a bachelor's (basic SW jobs), in most cases a Master's (must have in order to start your own private practice, practice psychotherapy, supervise someone who is working on their SW license, be paid by many insurances, etc.) It often costs agencies less to hire mgmt with less education, and some mgrs were grandfathered into licensure without having as much education or training. As a result, many supervisors are less educated/formerly trained than the people who work for them. I suspect there are several other fields that operate similar to this.

My daughter was one of the few West Point cadets who had no family members who graduated from West Point. My sister has worked at Merrill Lynch for 15 yrs, and the overwhelming majority of her clients are extremely affluent individuals who inherited their fortunes. In fact, our family grew up on welfare, and she said she has never seen such lazy and unemployed children and grandchildren as she has those who come from ultra-affluent families. Fortuitous birth is such an obvious factor with regard to this topic, that most would agree research is not necessary to lend support to this theory. However, if such a study could be completed to the satisfaction of all, would anyone really be surprised if such support would be found?

As far as hetworking, I think what was intended here was people obtaining jobs, promotions, favors, etc. due to "who they know" versus "what they know." In other words, there MAY be some skill involved in networking, but the fact that many who have desirable, and at times superior, skills are never given the opportunities afforded those who are "well-connected." I believe most reasonable people would agree with that and not question it, but again, if studies could be completed to verify this theory, would anyone be surprised? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mvmunozr (talkcontribs) 17:48, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

@ Social_class_in_the_United_States#Income[edit]

do these income numbers describe earnings before taxes?

also it lists 5 categories. it says 'income' e.g. 'Persons, age 25+ w/ earnings' what is "income" "w/ earnings". what the dilly?? (talk) 19:06, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Leonard Beeghley's social classes don't add up to 100%[edit]

preston Just wanted to point out that something must be wrong on the Leonard Beeghley's social classes, because they add up to 109%, instead of 100%. Maybe a typo? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arrab (talkcontribs) 15:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Class inflation[edit]

It would be nice to see something about class inflation in the USA, as this would help to explain the radically different conception of "middle class" in the USA compared with the rest of the world, including the difference in American vs. British English.

Economists seem to have done a better job of explaining this than sociologists. For example, the creation of Fannie Mae in 1938 made home ownership widely available to the working class. Before 1938, only about 5% of homes had mortgages. The GI bill, passed in 1944, provided millions of veterans returning from WWII with free college tuition. Much of our education system has experienced academic inflation. Many technical and agricultural colleges that morphed into "universities" would probably by called "polytechnics" in most countries. The USA and Canada both experienced major reforms in primary and secondary education in 1965 in which the curriculum was heavily watered down.

The concept of class deflation has also been raised in the last two decades, e.g., the American middle class waking up to the discovery that most of them are really working-class.

This sort of thing is occasionally discussed in WIRED, The Economist, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as some of the books advertised in The Economist. Zyxwv99 (talk) 13:57, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Due to the Red Scares and a long history of anti-communism the working class has been defined out of existence in the United States. Thus, reasonably paid workers are referred to as middle-class. There is no connotation that they are the bourgeoisie. No politician in the United States would represent themselves as representing the "working class" although perhaps 70% of the population could be fairly, and scientifically described as working class. User:Fred Bauder Talk 02:09, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
See User:Fred Bauder Talk 02:12, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Fred is right. "class inflation" is only meaningful in terms of differing interpretations of Weberian models over time: ie: today's "middle class" is yesterday's "working class" because "home ownership" is a fundamental stratum identifier in the US system of class recognition. The concept is irrelevant in term of Bourdieu, where the goal-posts shift to maintain communities. It is irrelevant to Marxist conceptions. It is irrelevant to "quintile" or "decile" approaches to social stratification by wealth. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:17, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


There is research that is trying to understand if how and why human beings socialize the way we do is biological. Two examples come to mind from the "Human Spark, The Brain Matters" TV show series that was on PBS.

1) Cooperation vs non-cooperating/not interacting: 9 Month old human babies watching three animal puppets playing with a ball will choose the animal puppet that is cooperative and not the non-cooperating puppet - according Karen Wynn at Yale University

2)Cooperating vs hindering: 9 month old human babies watching "abstract puppets"; a triangle, a circle and a square "puppet" choose the puppet that is "helping" and not the puppet that was "mean" or impeded the success of the other puppet. - according Karen Wynn at Yale University

3) 9 month old babies watched two puppets "eating" food. The baby choose the puppet that has the same preferences as themselves. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:38, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

I am sure there are more studies out there. Studies on what is thought to be biological and what is learned should both be included in this article. Right now the article only includes hypothesises and observations. Rather then testing, retesting and comparison experiments.

A study on language and the misunderstanding between ways of communicating between cultures would be interesting too. As this might tie back to the experiments with the 9 month old babies and what humans perceive as who's on who's side, and therefore stratification.

Additionally, there are studies on hormones, their effects on the brain, and their relationship to apes (and people) of different standing in a group. (Tara) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 10 June 2012 (UTC)