According to the textbook, socioeconomic status, or SES, represents social class (Berger, 2011, p. 12). Given that different people are born into different cohorts, it is important to realize how different life can be simply based on what background one is born into. If I were born into an extremely poor cohort, my life would be completely different. I would not have access to certain types of health care. Additionally, I would probably not live in a safe area. Lastly, I would be unable to afford a college education.
If I had been born into extreme poverty, then I likely would not have access to basic health care. While Medicaid is available for the poor, its services are limited, particularly with the current political climate. Additionally, my parents would like not have had access to necessary medical care, which means that my mother probably would not have received proper prenatal care. Without proper prenatal care, my brain would not develop as properly as it should, which would put me at a disadvantage before I even enter school.
Aside from health care, I would probably not live in a safe area. As the textbook indicates, those born into an impoverished cohort often suffer from substandard housing (Berger, 2011, p. 12). If I live in an undesirable area, I will feel constant stress and anxiety, which will negatively affect my chances for future success. In addition, I would probably be zoned for violent, inadequate public high schools that would not help me to reach my educational goals.
Lastly, I would be unable to afford a college education. Even if I were able to obtain student loans, these loans would probably prove impossible to repay in the future. If I were unable to obtain a college education, I would continue the same cycle for my own children. As the textbook wisely indicates, SES levels do not pertain to income alone; they also relate to educational levels (Berger, 2011, p. 12). An education is one of the best ways to rise out of poverty, but the chances to receive a good education are limited when one is in extreme poverty.
Different SES levels offer different opportunities, which in turn results in different lives, depending on which SES level one is born into. Birth into destitution would mean inadequate health care, unsafe housing, and insufficient education, disadvantages that I would pass down to my own children unless I broke the cycle. Breaking the cycle is possible, but it is much more difficult to do so from a low SES level compared to a high SES level.
- Berger, K. S. (2011) The Developing Person Through the Life Span (8th ed). New York, New York: Worth Publishers.