The modern US society is multifaceted and creates opportunities for everyone who wants to become part of it, including the population’s least and most privileged segments. However, the difference between the characteristics of living conditions and social opportunities can be very significant for families that belong to different social classes. This paper aims to demonstrate the peculiarities of the social stratification and social mobility in the family and class using the example of two families.
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The Khan family of four – 39-year-old mother Chan, 41-year-old father Kim, their 14-year-old daughter Fan, and her younger 4-year-old brother Joshua live in Queens, New York City. Chan and Kim immigrated to the US from Indonesia 18 years ago, and they have recently become registered citizens of the US. Chan works in the local hospital as a cleaner, and Kim is in the restaurant business, running a small cafe with his partner and cousin Zheng. Kim and Chan provide a stable income, enabling the family to buy healthy food and receive primary health care.
Kim and Chan do not have higher education, but Kim finished the business courses when he decided to open his business. The fan has a consistent aspiration to study in the local college that provides good opportunities like student loans and discounts for children from various backgrounds. Given her high grades in school, she is likely to achieve this goal. The family lives in a three-room apartment in Queens; Fan has her room to study quietly and her own PC. Khan family faced tremendous stress due to the COVID-19 pandemics, as their area was at the pandemic’s epicenter. Kim had to change the focus of his business and started to provide food delivery services. He also helped families who were left without a livelihood by giving free meals.
The Jones family of four – 42-year-old father Michael, 41-year-old mother Katherine, their 15-year-old daughter Rachel and 12-year-old son Jimmy live in the big house in the suburbs of New York City. Michael and Katherine are both doctors, and they work in the same hospital as Chan. When the COVID-19 pandemics started, they faced terrible stress doing their best to save people’s lives. Michael and Katherine have higher education; they graduated from the same respectable Medical University in another state. Rachel does not want to be a doctor; she wants to become a screenwriter and has plans of entering the NY University of Arts.
Katherine and Chan sometimes see each other in the hospital, and Katherine provided free-of-charge doctoral services for Kim when Chan asked her for help. COVID-19 pandemic was not so severe in suburban areas; therefore, Rachel and Jimmy felt much safer regarding the dangers of the virus. Katherine and Michael provide a stable income for their children; they have enough money to eat healthy food and have plans for their children’s education. They want to buy a car as a gift for Rachel’s coming of age and will help their children pay off real estate loans in the future.
Thus, the peculiarities of the social stratification and social mobility in the family and class were demonstrated using the example of two families. The Jones family is confident in the future and has fewer stress factors than the Khan family. Both families have access to basic needs such as food, water, and safety. Still, the Jones family has more opportunities for education and financial stability for their children in the future.