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Old Yesterday, 08:53 AM
 
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My question is related to social STATUS in the USA. I'm sure many of you are aware of all the common categories (income, education, profession etc.) that experts evaluate to create a general census regarding how to determine social CLASS in the USA:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social..._United_States

First, I'm wonder if anyone knows anything regarding how much weight each category play's in determining social class. What I mean is that I'm aware that there is no concrete matrix that every expert goes by. However, they all generally agree on what factor's determine social class. So is there a general consensus among experts regarding which categories have more "weight" in determining who is of a higher class in US society?

For example, are there professions that hold such weight that regardless of income that individual will always be held as an "upper class/upper middle class?" Or the opposite. Are there professions that have such low status that regardless of income a person will always be considered at best "middle class" when holding such jobs?

Second, based on the above information, what is your personal opinion (or opinion based on what you learned from what the experts say) on who would hold more esteem/respect/admiration (as in social STATUS) between the following two individuals among the majority of common Americans (as in not the experts) if evaluating these two solely on the information below?
---------------------------

Individual #1: A 39 year old ADN Nurse (2 year Associate's degree) who works at a hospital making $45K/year. However, she has made outside investments that nets her an additional yearly passive income of $155K/yr. Making her total yearly income $200K. Her net worth is $1.2 Million.

Or

Individual #2: The 49 year old director of operations at the same hospital making $140K/year. However, this individual holds a Phd in business management and a Masters in Economics. His networth is $900K.
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Old Yesterday, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Florida and New England
1,409 posts, read 1,565,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffon652 View Post
Second, based on the above information, what is your personal opinion (or opinion based on what you learned from what the experts say) on who would hold more esteem/respect/admiration (as in social STATUS) between the following two individuals among the majority of common Americans (as in not the experts) if evaluating these two solely on the information below?
---------------------------

Individual #1: A 39 year old ADN Nurse (2 year Associate's degree) who works at a hospital making $45K/year. However, she has made outside investments that nets her an additional yearly passive income of $155K/yr. Making her total yearly income $200K. Her net worth is $1.2 Million.

Or

Individual #2: The 49 year old director of operations at the same hospital making $140K/year. However, this individual holds a Phd in business management and a Masters in Economics. His networth is $900K.
Professionals -- practitioners with post-graduate degrees -- generally are considered at least "upper middle" class, and they participate in some circles as the wealthy (the upper classes), especially with family or college connections. Wealth or income alone does not define social class.

BTW, the filthy rich (what Paul Fussell called "out of sight", the 1%-ers, the private jet crowd) don't really liaise with anyone else, including the more common, golf-club-and-fancy-suburb upper-middles. In between are the general well-to-do classes, fairly stratified and also loosely grouped by zones (NYC-and-Hamptons; Boston-and-Nantucket; Palm Beach-and-Aspen; SF-and-Tahoe; etc.) These are the 2%, 3%, and 4%-ers.

Your first individual would be middle class, based on her academic achievements and salary. The net worth is great, but it alone would not give her entree into the higher circles. Also, unmentioned is marital status. Single women tend to be excluded from a lot of upwardly mobile environments, partly because other married women don't want their husbands around unattached women (sounds discriminatory, but you hear these comments quietly at places like private clubs). There is a double standard here, as single men are generally not excluded.
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Old Yesterday, 11:53 AM
 
2,078 posts, read 541,844 times
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This is not something that's going to be meaningfully answered in a few hundred words by random strangers.

The first part of the problem is that the US long maintained that it was a classless society, which was nonsense on the face of it (like many national-pride declarations) but had an air of truth because of significant instances of social mobility. Yes, poor street kid could grow up to be a wealthy industrialist; a working class child could become a respected professional, etc. But we didn't really let go of this notion of "class free" society until quite recently, and it still warps most discussions. (As in the C-D trope "anyone can succeed if they really want to, no matter what their roots or situation" — which is demonstrably untrue.)

The other part of the problem is that class in the US is almost impossible to disentangle from current economic status — a well-groomed man in a tux whirling some female celebrity around a party floor will be seen as much higher class than the shabby guy standing outside... never mind that one started as a Philly street thug and the other is a world-class neurosurgeon fallen on hard times. From our earliest days, we've respected people on a hierarchy of wealth above nearly all else. (And since we're in the C-D barroom, see any of the current discussions where people who take 'intellectual' or classic college degrees are derided as idiots because everyone knows STEM will make you rich.)

So any attempt at analyzing social class has to overcome those two hurdles before the fine details can be sorted out or brought into meaningful focus.
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Old Yesterday, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
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Wow... first off, no it is not "demonstrably untrue" that anyone can succeed. If you mean, "It's not true that a total moron with no IQ and no education can succeed," sure, I'll give you that. You can't be a mental midget and achieve success, anywhere in the world, never have been, never will, because your lot in life is to be at the bottom since you're literally genetically inept. In fact, that's a GOOD thing, you certainly shouldn't be able to achieve any level of success if you're just stupid. That being said, it's entirely possible for anyone of any social status growing up to achieve great fortune and success in the U.S., always has been. My dad came from a family with 8 kids, he inherited nothing whatsoever, he worked from the time he was 7 years old picking berries in the field, washed neighborhood cars, did every menial job you can imagine from night shift restocking a freezer section at a grocery store to automotive assistant to retail and he managed to build a business empire spanning the West Coast. I love it when someone says you can't pull yourself up by the bootstraps -- YOU can't, sure, I'll never question your ineptitude, but other people can, absolutely, and have done so.

As for the comment before, also made me laugh out loud. Dude, do you actually think the top 1% is some big deal? Some unseen group of elites? It's not a big deal, it's 1%, we are not unseen. I'm easily top 1%, and I shop at Target, I go to the same stores you go to, I look for the deals, I eat out at family restaurants like Applebee's and Buffalo Wild Wings (though I think it's a bit expensive for what it is!), my best friend is a police officer, my life is just a normal life associating with mostly middle class and upper middle class people, though I have friends who are much less well off than that. The only wealthy people I know are through my dad, I don't personally have any wealthy friends, though my doctor friend could be the closest. The top 1% doesn't have ANYWHERE near enough money to have a private jet (though my dad does, and he's top 0.1%), heck I can't afford to take first class! Have you seen the prices of a first class trip internationally? We're talking about $8,000 to London! Yeah, I don't think so. I could travel first class around the U.S., I guess, but why would I spend 4x as much money or 5x as much money for that? Money has value to me, I don't waste it and throw it away on stupid things. You'll find me right next to you traveling coach like everyone else, and taking few vacations because it costs a lot of money to travel, and you'll look over on the road and see my 8 year old car that I intend to drive another 7 years minimum because cars are a terrible investment and a depreciating asset.

I think some people have this odd vision of someone in the top 1% living high on the hog, but that's just not reality for most people. I can afford to have a way nicer house than most people, large unexpected expenses don't phase me, but that's about the extent of it, I try to keep my actual spending firmly in the middle class at around $5,500/month for both my wife and I combined, and that includes paying our own health insurance since we're both self-employed. Once the mortgage is gone in a few years, that'll drop to $4,500, which is hardly a crazy spend for a married couple. More than 10% of that is the property tax bill.
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Old Yesterday, 12:17 PM
 
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This is a silly question because there aren't any nurses out there making 155k passive yearly income consistently off of 1.2 mil net worth. Making that kind of passive income consistently would require more net worth, which would mean that this nurse was most likely a trust fund kid from a wealthy family, and that changes the whole "status" thing considerably.
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Old Yesterday, 12:53 PM
 
2,078 posts, read 541,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLB View Post
Wow... first off, no it is not "demonstrably untrue" that anyone can succeed.
Thanks for playing. We weren't really looking for a passionate restatement of the American success mythos.
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Old Yesterday, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Florida and New England
1,409 posts, read 1,565,462 times
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The top 1% are not all the "out-of-sight" wealthy that Fussell mentions in Class. But all of the out-of-sight wealthy are in the top 1%. There are some quirky, old money types who fly in coach and shop at Wal Mart. Many among the old money set are quite frugal. But with ten million dollars, these people are at least considering private jet travel.

According to the Federal Reserve survey from 2016:

Six million in assets (these stats exclude primary residence) is the threshold at 2% of top wealth in the US; and
Ten million in assets is the threshold at 1% of top wealth; and
Forty million in assets is the threshold at 0.1% of top wealth.

"Net worth of over $10,374,030.10 would put a household in the top 1%. The top 1% is roughly the wealthiest 1,259,817 households in America"

Source: https://dqydj.com/net-worth-percenti...united-states/
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Old Yesterday, 12:58 PM
 
3,423 posts, read 1,386,931 times
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Anyone who actually cares about social status is a deluded fool. It's meaningless. Just ask Steve Bing. Oh, you can't, he killed himself 2 days ago.

https://www.thewrap.com/steve-bing-dies-55/
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 PM
 
7,708 posts, read 3,630,221 times
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Well, I'll repeat for those who missed it the first time, Fussell's American social classes, but you really, really, really, need to read the book.

But, in the mean time, let's repeat...

"Social class is not the same thing as money; social class is not the same thing as money; social class is not the..."

And here are Fussell's identified social classes (obviously different people could assign these a bit differently):

Top out of sight
Upper
Upper-middle
Middle
High Prole
Mid Prole
Low Prole
Destitute
Bottom out of sight

Although money (as income and as net worth) is strongly correlated with social class, it is not what determines social class. That's driven by education, attitude, behavior, beliefs.

A plumber who dropped out of high school in 10th grade, has not read a book other than instruction manuals since, yet owns a large multi-state plumbing business with dozens of employees, is probably "high prole" in social class, whereas a trust fund baby who went to Yale, has traveled to Europe a dozen times, but then lost all the money and now lives in a one room efficiency apartment and gets by on tutoring jobs, is probably upper-middle or even possibly upper.
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Old Yesterday, 01:16 PM
 
35,719 posts, read 18,424,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffon652 View Post
Individual #1: A 39 year old ADN Nurse (2 year Associate's degree) who works at a hospital making $45K/year. However, she has made outside investments that nets her an additional yearly passive income of $155K/yr. Making her total yearly income $200K. Her net worth is $1.2 Million..
1.2 million net worth and a passive income of $155K does not mesh. At all.
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