Meaning of Social Inequality

Social inequality is a very present problem in society. Some people and social groups have greater purchasing power, that is, a greater possibility of acquiring goods and contracting services; others, however, do not have the same opportunity. This difference creates social inequality .

This means that not all people have access to a dignified and healthy quality of life, as they do not have the financial means. Thus, the issue of social inequality has a major impact on society when it comes to consumption.

Consequences of social inequality

The city is a perfect mirror of social inequalities, in which the unfair distribution of income is seen through the segregation of space. This segregation is directly associated with income, given that land, in this context, is a commodity. In this way, urban constructions materialize social inequalities.

The photo below exemplifies the difference in the occupation of space in a city: in it you can see the community of Paraisópolis surrounded by high-end neighborhoods, including Morumbi.

The occupation of space, in Paraisópolis, took place without planning, taking advantage of all the space to build and waterproof the soil, which resulted in a large population concentration and in the emergence of several environmental, safety and socioeconomic problems, in addition to not having satisfactory basic sanitation for all inhabitants.

Social inequality in Brazil

Brazil is one of the world champions in social inequalities, which is explained by several factors, such as: exploitation colony; one of the last countries to abolish slavery; land concentration; unequal access to education between social classes and low qualifications; school dropout; low economic growth in the country; differences in professional qualification and salary conditions between whites and blacks; high inflation and tax burden that surcharges products, reducing the purchasing power of the less favored social classes, which survive on minimum wages or with lower values.

Another striking aspect of part of the Brazilian population is that it is rentier, that is, it seeks to live on income, such as rent houses and real estate and financial speculation; it is not an entrepreneurial population, that is, it generates income and employment.

In addition to these social factors, there is the impact of economic influence, when large foreign and national corporations dominate the employment scenario, putting pressure on urban and rural workers with low wages.

The graphs show how income is distributed among the age groups, in addition to indicating greater pressure on the youngest and by income group, showing that a large portion of the population lives on relatively low wages.

The concentration of income worsens the quality of life of the population, since those who receive less are forced to accumulate long hours of work to maintain an income that allows them to survive; this income does not allow them access to cultural events and leisure practices, such as trips, visits to museums and theaters, concerts and other events.

This scenario also has repercussions on professional qualification, as it makes it difficult to carry out quality basic education and the entry of workers into higher education undergraduate and graduate courses.

How social inequality is measured

To calculate social inequality, the Italian Corrado Gini created a calculation in 1912, whose formula is based on a Lorenz curve that considers the total population of a given country and its income distribution.

The graph below shows an outline of income distribution and social inequality. The blue line indicates a country with a better income distribution, in which 80% of the population holds 65% of the income. The beige line belongs to a country with extreme concentration of income, in which 80% of the population is responsible for only 13% of the income, therefore, the remaining 87% are in the hands of 20% of the population.

The Gini coefficient is an international standard for measuring income concentration, adopted by the UN. It varies from 0 to 1 (the closer to zero, the better the income distribution is).

How to end social inequality

Education is undoubtedly one of the ways to reduce socioeconomic inequalities, since, normally, people with a higher level of education have higher income and, in the case of unemployment, a quicker return to the market.

Another aspect of access to quality education is the promotion of knowledge and access to information, which are guiding factors so that people can know their rights as citizens and fight for them.

Social Inequality