Q:

What is social hierarchy?

A:

Social hierarchy is how individuals and groups are arranged in a relatively linear ladder. Social hierarchy is evident in many species of animals, but it is the most complex in humans. Socioeconomic status is one of the essential factors that creates this hierarchy.

Socioeconomic status in terms of social hierarchy takes into account a wide range of elements about a person or group. Social features, such as gender, sex, age, race, religion and location, are the most visual and obvious parts of the hierarchy. Race is of particular importance because of how it relates to economic status due to historical racism and segregation. Gender is important in the same way because women have historically been granted fewer rights and are, in many ways, still fighting their way up the social hierarchy.

Economic status includes the work a person does, how much money he has and how much material wealth he possesses. This can be both tangible and intangible and is the basis for social classes. For example, the hierarchy tends to go poor, working class, middle class, higher class, with subdivisions within each major category. Social and economic factors combined is a person's socioeconomic status, which places that person within the social hierarchy. General respect of the person, such as a person who routinely does a lot of community service and volunteer work, also affects his place in the hierarchy.


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