This article needs to be updated. Please update social class essays article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Sociologists Dennis Gilbert, William Thompson, Joseph Hickey, and James Henslin have proposed class systems with six distinct social classes. Hickey as well as United States Census Bureau data pertaining to personal income and educational attainment for those age 25 or older.
Some definitions of class look only at numerical measures such as wealth or income. Others take into account qualitative factors, such as education, culture, and social status. There is no consensus on which of these variables is essential and which are merely common correlates. Our position in the social hierarchy affects our health, happiness, and even how long we will live. Social class is sometimes presented as a description of how members of the society have sorted themselves along a continuum of positions varying in importance, influence, prestige, and compensation.
In these models, certain occupations are considered to be desirable and influential, while others are considered to be menial, repetitive, and unpleasant. Some sociologists consider the higher income and prestige of higher ranked jobs to simply be incentives to encourage members of society to obtain the skills necessary to perform important work. In other cases, class or status is inherited. Income in the United States is most commonly measured by United States Census Bureau in terms of either household or individual and remains one of the most prominent indicators of class status.