11 questions about social inequality (with feedback)

Income concentration, social stratification and prejudice are ways of dividing society. Check out the questions on social inequality prepared by our expert professors.

question 1

The main stratification systems can be divided into four different groups, they are:

a) slavery, castes, statuses and class
b) castes, feudalism, class, heredity
c) slavery, status, castes and nationality
d) castes, class, commune and slavery

Correct alternative: a) slavery, caste, status and class

Throughout history, there have been many ways to divide and compose a society. Individuals occupy and play different roles in the social fabric. These social groups are identified by similar socioeconomic conditions that create divisions (strata) and impede or hinder social mobility.

Are they:

  1. slavery - division of society between masters and slaves in which there is no social mobility.
  2. castes - social division based on kinship and consanguinity (inbreeding). In this type of stratification, social groups are closed and restricted, there is no social mobility, with a hierarchy between the castes based on the idea of ​​greater or lesser degree of purity.
  3. the estates - common social stratification in the feudal period of the Middle Ages: nobility, clergy and serfs. It consists of the division of society members into restricted and hierarchical groups based, generally, on the concept of honor. Although it is possible, social mobility is almost non-existent.
  4. classes - modern stratification of society, based on the principle of isonomy, in which everyone is equal before the law, there is no legal impediment to social mobility. However, the structures of the systems tend to generate what Bourdieu called social reproduction: the maintenance of the dominant class as dominant over another subordinate class.

See too: State Society.

question 2

For sociologist Max Weber, social conflicts would result from the asymmetric positions that individuals occupy in society.

He called the different spheres class, status and party:

a) political, behavioral and legal
b) economic, social and political
c) legal, participatory and relational
d) public, private and political.

Correct alternative: b) economic, social and political

For sociologist Max Weber, society would have several interrelated, but not completely exclusive, divisions.

These divisions would be:

  • Class for Weber, following the logic of Karl Marx, would represent the economic division of society.
  • The estates would be linked to the social position (status) of a social group, based on honor and tradition, not necessarily linked to the financial issue.
  • The party, the division of society linked to ideological and political trends and positions.

See more at: Max Weber.

question 3

"The World Bank estimate is that about 5.4 million Brazilians will reach extreme poverty, reaching a total of 14.7 million people by the end of 2020, or 7% of the population."

Moments of crisis such as the pandemic caused by the coronavirus affect more clearly the poorest. One of the indicative factors to define extreme poverty is related to food security. The food safety indicator refers to:

a) safety in the transport of agricultural inputs.
b) physical and economic access to healthy and adequate food.
c) conditions for the reopening of the food trade.
d) cleaning of products purchased in markets for the elimination of coronavirus.

Correct alternative: b) physical and economic access to healthy and adequate food.

Food security is one of the most relevant factors in tackling the issues generated by social inequality.

The UN set a value for the definition of extreme poverty that would be 1.90 dollars a day (about 10 reais). For the entity, people who live with less than this amount have difficulties in keeping the minimum for their livelihood: clean water, sanitation, housing, access to medicines and safe food.

Understand better by reading: poverty in Brazil.

question 4

In Brazil, the richest 1% concentrates 28.3% of the country's total income (in Qatar this proportion is 29%). In other words, almost a third of the income is in the hands of the richest. The richest 10% in Brazil concentrate 41.9% of total income.

20 countries with the highest concentration of income in the world. Brazil is in second place.
Source: https://g1.globo.com/mundo/noticia/2019/12/09/brasil-tem-segunda-maior-concentracao-de-renda-do-mundo-diz-relatorio-da-onu.ghtml (accessed on 07/28/2020 - 09:30)

Income concentration has a series of causes in Brazil, among the main ones are:

a) privilege of large companies and financial capital, low levels of education and precarious work.
b) productive deficit, colonialism and lack of state investments.
c) low capital circulation, retraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) and migration crisis.
d) natural disasters, income redistribution programs and creation of tax havens.

Correct alternative: a) privilege of large companies and financial capital, low levels of education and precarious work.

Social inequalities can assume a series of causes and effects, generating a cycle of maintenance of these structures.

In Brazil, there is a history of poverty that influences the persistence of inequalities.

On the one hand, a system of subsidies to large companies seeks to heat up the economy in a top-down system.

This model has as an obstacle the concentration of income, especially in the richest 1% of the population, as shown in the study.

This prevents investments from impacting the living conditions of the poorest strata of the population.

On the other hand, poverty and marginalization tend to increase informality or submission to precarious working conditions, impacting on the subsistence conditions of families. The children of these families tend to enter the labor market very early, without qualification, causing the model to be reproduced.

See more at: Social Inequality in Brazil.

question 5

Classification of social inequality according to the Gini Coefficient. The higher the number, the greater the inequality:

ranking Parents Gini Coefficient

South Africa

2 Namibia 59,1
3 Zambia 57,1
4 Central African Republic 56,2
5 Lesotho 54,2
6 Mozambique 54
7 Brazil 53,3
8 Botswana 53,3
9 Swaziland 51,5
10 Saint Lucia 51,2

Source: https://noticias.uol.com.br/internacional/ultimas-noticias/2019/12/09/brasil-e-o-7-mais-desigual-do-mundo-melhor-apenas-do-que-africanos.htm (accessed on 07/28/2020 - 10:30)

One of the main indicators to assess inequality in countries is the Gini coefficient. In this calculation are listed:

a) the HDI in relation to unemployment rates.
b) the average proportion of accumulated income in relation to the population as a whole.
c) agricultural production in relation to the trade balance.
d) per capita income in relation to gross domestic product (GDP).

Correct alternative: b) the average proportion of accumulated income in relation to the population as a whole.

The Gini coefficient, used to measure the level of inequality in a population, is calculated from the average income accumulation of the population.

Thus, the most unequal societies are those in which a small part of the population accumulates most of their income. The smaller this portion of the population and the larger the portion of total income accumulated by this group, the greater the inequality index.

Understand better at: Social inequality.

question 6

World ranking of the Human Development Index (HDI):

ranking Parents HDI
1 Norway 0.954







Hong Kong (China)



Chile 0,847


Argentina 0,830


Uruguay 0,808


Brazil 0,761


Niger 0,377

The HDI (Human Development Index) is an indicator that considers three fundamental factors. Are they:

a) safety, housing and health
b) health, transport and sustainability
c) security, education and infrastructure
d) education, health and economy

Correct alternative: d) education, health and economics

Created in 1990 by economists Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq, the HDI (Human Development Index) is used by the UN to comparatively measure the social development of countries.

The index varies between 1 (perfect) and 0 (very bad) and has the following criteria:

  • Education - population's average schooling and access to education;
  • Health - average life expectancy;
  • Economy - GDP (gross domestic product) per capita (average per person).

Learn more at: Human Development Index (HDI).

question 7

The Bolsa Família program, created in 2003, is an income transfer program that combined other existing aids. Currently, the average amount received per family is R$191. It is incorrect to state that the program is intended to:

a) reduce infant mortality rates
b) reduce school dropout rates
c) guarantee access to essential services
d) reduce internal migration in the country

Correct alternative: d) reduce internal migration in the country

The Bolsa Família program enacted by Law No. 10,836, of January 9, 2004 is a cash transfer program, its main objective, guaranteeing access to essential services, reducing hunger and mortality rates among the population. poor.

To seek to reduce school dropout rates, the law provides for some criteria relating to the attendance of children and young people in school.

However, there is no intention in the law of reducing or preventing internal migration in the country, although this may happen as a secondary effect.

See too: Social inclusion.

question 8

mortality rate in Brazil according to IBGE
Source: IBGE/DPE/Department of Population and Social Indicators. Division of Studies and Analysis of Demographic Dynamics. UNFPA/BRASIL Project (BRA/98/P08) - Integrated System of Population Projections and Estimates and Socio-demographic Indicators.

According to the data presented by IBGE on infant mortality rates in Brazil, it is incorrect to state that:

a) in the Northeast region, mortality rates are higher.
b) in Brazil, infant mortality affects more strongly the black and brown population.
c) the southern region has the lowest mortality rates.
d) male children up to 5 years of age have a lower mortality rate than female children.

Correct alternative: d) male children up to 5 years of age have a lower mortality rate than female children.

Data show that mortality rates are higher among male children.

Read too: Child mortality.

question 9

Map of Brazil with sewage collection access rates by state
(Accessed in: https://www.aosfatos.org/noticias/o-saneamento-basico-no-brasil-em-6-graficos/, 07/08/2020)

Basic sanitation is one of the biggest health problems in the world. According to the UN, "the right to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is an essential human right for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights."

In Brazil, 48% of the population does not have a sewage collection system. This impacts on several indexes related to public health and is a mark of inequality in Brazilian society.

It can be said that:

a) the health impacts caused by the absence of sewage collection affect the richest and the poorest populations equally.
b) populations in large urban centers suffer equally from the lack of sewage collection.
c) less than 20% of the population of Piauí has ​​a sewage collection service.
d) in the Southeast region, more than 60% of the population has a sewage collection service.

Correct alternative: c) less than 20% of the population of Piauí has ​​a sewage collection service.

The data show that the state of Piauí, in the Northeast region of the country, has the lowest sewage collection rate, according to the legend, below 20%.

Data from the state of Piauí point to only 7% of households with sewage collection.

See too: Sewer.

question 10

Follow the chart:
graph on the inequality of wages between men and women

The graph above shows a strong imbalance between the wages received by men and women.

The same study also states that although women earn less than men work more: 54.4 hours per week, against 51.4 for men.

According to IBGE, this difference is due to two main factors:

  1. The empowerment of women for domestic work that forces them to take jobs with more flexible hours so that they can reconcile tasks.

  2. The prejudice against women reflected in hiring for leadership and management positions.

These studies show that in Brazil there is still a strong inequality:

a) of gender
b) of religious
c) racial
d) legal

Correct alternative: a) of gender

Gender inequality is characterized by differentiation and hierarchy based strictly on issues related to perceived differences between the sexes and an assigned social role.
Thus, as the study shows, a part of women are passed over to occupy jobs simply because they are women.

On the other hand, there is a culture that associates women with care-related tasks, which are often forms of unpaid work, such as domestic work.

See too: Types of Prejudice.

question 11
Incarceration in Brazil by race, color and ethnicity

According to data from the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN), the prison population in Brazil is mostly black (64% against 35% white). These data do not correspond to the proportion of blacks and whites in the Brazilian population. Based on the research, it's incorrect state that:

a) there is no distinction between races in Brazil.
b) the proportion of black people in the prison system exceeds that of white people.
c) there is a higher rate of incarceration of black people.
d) in Brazil, almost two thirds of the prison population is black.

Correct alternative: a) there is no distinction between races in Brazil.

The data show a racial cut of the prison system in Brazil, reflecting a structure of racial inequality that calls into question the myth of Brazilian racial democracy.

Therefore, it is incorrect to state that there is no distinction between races and/or ethnicities in the country. Several recent studies point to the concept developed by Silvio Luiz de Almeida, structural racism.

Racial movement studies point to the fact that in the justice system, black youth are more prone to condemnation than white youth.

Understand better at: racial democracy.

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