5 Main causes of social inequality

Social inequality is an imbalance in living conditions among the citizens of a country . It is basically defined by two characteristics: economic differences and differences in access to basic rights between social classes.

Find out now the main causes of social inequality:

  1. Poor income distribution

Poor income distribution is possibly the biggest cause of a country’s social inequality. Poor income distribution occurs when there is an imbalance between the high-income population and the poorest population.

In the poor distribution of income there is a small number of people or families with a high concentration of income (wealth). Most of the population, on the other hand, live on a lower income, often insufficient for their basic survival.

Poor income distribution gives rise to a problem known as income concentration , which is precisely the concentration of much of the country’s income in the hands of a small social group. As a consequence of this, the remaining part of the income is divided among the other social classes.

  1. Lack of access to quality education

The low educational level of a country is also one of the causes of social inequality, because the low quality of education results in the low quality of professional and technical training. As a result, citizens are not well prepared to compete and take on good jobs.

The difficulty in accessing quality education is manifested in several ways:

  • due to insufficient places in schools,
  • the low quality of the education offered,
  • due to little investment in educational public policies,
  • due to the poor conservation conditions of schools,
  • difficulties related to student transportation,
  • safety in the school environment.

In countries with wide social inequality, quality education should be among the governmental priorities, as it helps to reduce inequality rates through social inclusion.

  1. Insufficient government investment

The lack of government investment is another cause of social inequalities. It is part of a government’s obligation to make adequate and sufficient investments in areas that allow citizens access to rights that must be guaranteed to all.

Some of these rights are: access to health services, basic education, training for work, housing and public safety. They also suffer from a lack of investment in areas such as culture, leisure, public policies and social assistance.

Government investments may be insufficient for a number of reasons. It may happen, for example, that the State does not have sufficient resources to meet the demands of all the services that are necessary, both for the functioning of the government and for meeting the needs of the population.

If this happens and the government is unable to make the appropriate investments, the services offered to the population will not have quality or will be insufficient to meet the country’s demand.

Likewise, the planning of a government must also be right in deciding which public policies should have funding priority to guarantee the access of the entire population to these rights.

  1. Difficulty in accessing basic services

Another cause of social inequality is the difficulty in accessing rights and services that should be guaranteed to all inhabitants of a country. Examples are: access to basic rights to food, housing, education, health, safety and job opportunities.

In unequal countries it is quite common that the reality is that public services, offered by governments to citizens, are insufficient to meet the demand of the population, in addition to often not having adequate quality. As a result, those with sufficient income have access to these services privately.

Thus, those who cannot afford to pay for private services have more difficulty accessing these rights, if they are not offered by governments or are provided with poor quality.

  1. Mismanagement of public resources

Mismanagement of public resources is mismanagement of decisions regarding the use of public money. Poor management of resources may exist due to the lack of governmental planning, in assumptions in which the government does not make the right decisions regarding the budget, and does not make the necessary investment division for each area.

Misuse of public money can occur by making the wrong decisions that lead to the waste of public funds and investment in projects, purchases, policies and works that are not a priority.

It should be noted that corruption and money laundering are also factors that aggravate the situation. In these cases, it is common that money diverted through political schemes should be used to guarantee the rights of the population and to finance services.


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