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Social Class and Socioeconomic Status

Social class is a marker of one’s positioning within society related to one’s socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status is typically defined by a combination of one’s financial income and level of education and occupation. Beyond socioeconomic status, social class is often thought of as a culture that carries with it group membership, norms, and socialization patterns. For children, social class is a family-level indicator; children “inherit” the social class of the adults in their household. In the United States, social class is associated with youth’s opportunities as well as outcomes. Rates of happiness and health are generally greater for people in higher social classes, with higher stress levels reported by people in lower social classes. Social class shaped the history of after-school programs and still ...

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