The Realities of Social Inequalities

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The concept of class stratification in relation to the average person within the US tends to be confused by the promises the United States advertises: a land of opportunity where if you work hard enough, you can achieve your dreams of wealth and prosperity, despite your background. It is reported that most Americans, 42 %, believe that they fall within the middle class (Gallup Poll, 2012). However according to a report released by the Pew Research, the middle class has experienced shrinking and there has been an increase in the number of people reporting identification with the lower-middle and lower classes (Pew Research 2012). Additionally, the so-labeled “Free World,” is often depicted as one that promotes equality. However, complete gender equality, like other ideals the US holds dear, are not fully practiced within society. It is widely said that “females make 75 cents to their male counterparts' dollar” (Hegewisch, Williams 2013). The subject of societal inequalities has provoked great debate and consequently been approached by a number theories to explain, and at times justify, the realities we face as a society on a daily basis. Two such approaches, Functionalism and Conflict Theory have taken opposing but compelling stances on deciphering the reasoning behind the inequalities present in today's society.

A clearly defined class structure exists within the United States and can be tied to the issue of income inequality. The upper class (earning > $300,000)
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