Difference Between Ethnicity & Social Class

Ethnicity vs Social Class

The main distinction between ethnicity and social class lies in the fact that a person’s social class is determined by their economic status, while their ethnicity is determined by their ancestry. Both terms, ethnicity and social class, are connected to social stratification. Everyone in this world belongs to an ethnic group and a social class. Ethnicity and social class are inherited at birth, but a person can change their status as they grow up. Social class is primarily defined in relation to a person’s economic status in society, with most societies having upper class, middle class, and lower class individuals. A person’s ethnic identity is recognized by their ancestry, culture, or the group of a particular society to which they belong.

Key Takeaways

  • Social class is mainly determined by a person’s economic status, while ethnicity is determined by ancestry and cultural factors.
  • Both ethnicity and social class are inherited at birth but can be changed throughout a person’s life.
  • Everyone belongs to an ethnic group and a social class, which are both connected to social stratification and hierarchies in society.

What is Social Class?

Social class is a concept used by sociologists or economists to group members of a particular society according to a set of social hierarchy. The most common division is to classify people as upper class, middle class, and lower class. As previously mentioned, social class is primarily defined by a person’s socio-economic status. Those who have more wealth and assets are placed in the upper class, either by birth or by accumulating significant fortunes. The middle class consists of those who have slightly more money than they need for survival, and they make up a large portion of a country’s population. On the other hand, people who cannot at least make ends meet are considered lower class members. These individuals often lack money and sometimes even the necessities for life. They typically engage in laborer jobs and receive low pay.

The class position of an individual is said to determine many aspects of their life. For example, upper-class individuals can afford good education and have better access to healthcare facilities. Middle-class people also have access to education but may not be able to afford higher studies due to high costs. Lower-class individuals are often deprived of many things, including access to education, and they face numerous health problems due to malnutrition and lack of facilities and knowledge. However, there is always class mobility, and any person can move up or down the social ladder. Social class is sometimes ascribed but mostly an achieved status.

What is Ethnicity?

Ethnicity is the recognition of a person based on their common ancestry, social and cultural identity, language, race, homeland, etc. Ethnicity is characterized by factors such as religion, physical appearance, dressing style, food patterns, etc. An ethnic group can range in size from thousands of members to just a handful of individuals. The largest ethnic group in the modern world is considered to be the Han Chinese. Furthermore, an ethnic group may consist of clans or tribes, which might later form their own ethnicities or merge with different ethnic groups to create a new ethnicity, a process called ethnogenesis. Depending on the source of identity, there are several types of ethnic groups, including ethno-racial groups, ethnoreligious groups, ethno-national groups, and ethnolinguistic groups. It is also possible for individuals to move from one ethnic group to another if they are accepted by the latter.

What is the difference between Ethnicity and Social Class?

  • Both ethnicity and social class can be either ascribed or achieved statuses, with the possibility of shifting between them throughout life.
  • Different social classes and ethnicities have their own beliefs and standing in a particular community.
  • The relationship between ethnicity and social class depends on the society, with the ruling class often sharing the same ethnicity.
  • Both statuses are socially defined and can vary from one society to another.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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