Week 1 SOC220F – Sept 13,13 – General Introduction
social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen.
social status a person is assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life
State of Inequality in Canada today:
• Has income inequality improved in Canada?
• How does Canada compare to other modern economies?
• Compared to similar countries, the level of income inequality in Canada has become
relatively high since 1980
• Gini coefficient grew from 0.37 in 1980 to 0.45 by 2009
o A score of 0 means perfect equality in terms of income
o A score of 1 means one person/group has all the income and everyone else has none
o Increased about 10% in 30 years
• Who has been affected by rising inequality?
• People on lower ends of society
• The largest gains in incomes occurred at the very top of the income distribution
• The top 20 percent: their share of total income increased from 40.4% to 46.3% during this
• Overall, those in the middle of the income distribution were relatively unaffected
• There were greater consequences for the poor, however
Income gains by social class
• The top 20% increase in their average income by $49,400 between 1980 and 2009 (from
$128,500 to $177,900)
• The bottom 80% saw an average increase of only $5,450
• The bottom 20% gained only $1700
• Why has income inequality