Structural factors that Inhibit Upward Economic Mobility


Topic of essay

Q:        In class, we discussed various structural factors that inhibit upward mobility. Drawing on a wide variety of readings and videos on evictions, debt, crime/punishment/courts/police, race, health, neighborhood dynamics (including ghettoization/redlining/gentrification), etc., you will show how and why upward economic mobility is difficult in this country for people of various backgrounds. (NOTE: This is a purposely broad prompt. You need to think about how you will craft a coherent essay that deals with many, though not all, of these concerns.)




Copy and paste these links provided in the document (sources)-Get information on the paper based on these articles and

Why Don’t Police Catch Serial Rapists? – The Atlantic

Rich Kids Stay Rich, Poor Kids Stay Poor | FiveThirtyEight

Student Debt Is Transforming the American Family | The New Yorker

“I Can Breathe,” and the Occasional Fear of Covering Protests – Contexts

White America is quietly self-segregating – Vox

The Eviction Epidemic | The New Yorker

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies | TED Talk


















Structural factors that Inhibit Upward Economic Mobility


Upward economic mobility is a complex and integrated phenomenon that is driven by numerous factors in society. Sociologist coin upward as the ability or potential to move up the societal social classes. Traditionally there are three distinct classes; upper class, middle class, and lower class. All these classes overlap and are codependent in a discriminatory manner based on race, source of income, demographic, crime, punishment, debt levels, eviction rate, court proceedings, and health status (Mary, Martha, and Keith). According to the Federal Government, there is a correlation between the inequality gap in countries with the wealthiest market democracies and the most inadequate democracies (Richard). Therefore, it is evident that inequality in society is intrusive and can cause drastic economic and political changes. Although there are innumerable strides in eradicating structural elements ailing the system, there is still a need to implement more unifying factors.  For the longest time, people of color have experienced great injustices that have formed the basis of the modern-day economic depression.

A comprehensive analysis of the major crimes ailing the systems has led to the drastic rise in unemployment, debt, ghettoization, thus hindering economic growth, particularly in the minority communities. Today the American System is characterized by high-level gun violence, a faulty justice system, and abstract racism that significantly affect the economy but suit the capitalistic market in equal measure. Urban areas have become breeding grounds for crime and other crime-related activities. Even the working class cannot cater to their needs, thus fall into huge debts.  This paper explores the intersectionality of race, neighborhood dynamics, police, debt, and court plays on upward economic mobility.


The rise of socialism and capitalism characterizes the left or right of the race spectrum. The social class in America is highly polarized due to the chronological and revolutionary surge of racism. The race is a deep-rooted vice that gives rise to diverse challenges and struggles. Since the supremacists’ era, black people in the community have experienced so much ridicule and hate and have been segregated into lower social class neighborhoods. The minority have sacrificed and fought fiercely for decades against these long-standing injustices which inhibit wealth creation and acquisition. With this segregation, there has been a rise in crime due to poor living and working conditions. Immense segregation has led to an increase in the poverty levels, causing mass transit from the urban areas to the suburbs. This has prompted the white people to self-segregate into racially inclusive communities to withhold certain rights and privileges from black people (Alvin). Lack of recognition, discrimination, and isolation from the community fueled by the fear of growing minority has increased inequality and racism.  This has drastically altered the black people’s social, physical, and financial capacity as they have limited access to healthcare, education, and social services compared to the white majority. Constant failure characterized by segregation, discrimination, and oppression chains them to the vicious cycle of crime and lingers throughout adulthood. Accordingly, this translates to weak and poor upward economic mobility.


Racism is a deep-rooted vice embedded in the American capitalistic system. Invented and cultivated by America’s forefathers, it has become the centerpiece of the growing dysfunctional black communities. Poor communities exhibit similar characteristics that lead to the generational cycle of poverty, crime, eviction, and drug abuse. The institution of racism stems from the capacity to oppress the poor. Its main aim is to create a system that belittles the blacks and are dependent on the flawed system. As a result, the institution engineers hate discrimination and numerous injustices against people of color that curtail the black communities’ growth and development. Children do not have access to well-equipped schools to acquire knowledge and achieve their dreams. Following this, the transition to adulthood becomes a cumbersome process as most children cannot earn a decent income to take care of their needs. In this regard, many people fall into crime, drugs, and others who are susceptible to eviction and debt.

In most cases, separation from their family makes the children delusional, estranged and they may end committing suicide or developing mental illnesses. The presence of diseases and other deformities impedes decision making thus lacks a sense of autonomy. Eventually, these people will become a burden to society. Continuos’ emergence of these cases will maximize the upward economic growth and development, which impedes the growth of a self-reliant community state. In effect, this leads to a low working population, which ultimately reduces output per production.  The low working population leads to poor development and slowed wealth creation systems. In this regard, there is a vast economic gap between the wealthy and the poor.

For decades the black community has endeared painstaking perseverance of atrocities committed based on their skin color.  Inequality is the oasis of low wages, unequal working hours, and discrimination in the workplace amongst people of color. Income is a critical determinant of one’s social status.  The differences in revenue sources widen the gap between the higher-earning, middle-class, and low-class workers, which elicit myriad problems that befall a country. Economic inequality affects the employee’s growth indicators and increases work output per production to fuel economic growth, resulting in positive upward economic mobility.

A society is a social construct driven by opinions, ideas, and traditions that are acceptable and ideal for certain people. From this perspective, health and well-being play a pivotal role in developing a socially inclusive and healthy economy. For people to build, cultivate, there is a need for active, vibrant, and healthy personnel to run and manage the enterprises. Sociologists state a striking difference in mental illness between countries with high inequality rates and well-integrated cities in the recent past. However, although it is a controversial subject, the structural display of social mobility factors is not isolated from the race (Richard). Most of the structural elements ailing the system are engineered on social pathology ailing the system. When there is a societal imbalance, the economy plummets as the social class designs are the economy’s primary engineers.

Court Laws

In the new era of globalization and knowledge-based economies, business laws play a crucial role in the markets. Today most businesses are governed by a set of rules and regulations that the industry must follow. By doing this, sociologist ensures there is a fair playing ground for all the companies. However, the social class status highly dictates a business’s ability to abide by the set laws.   There is a high difference in social power between firms operating in the majority than the minority in the community.

Most importantly, the higher power complex allows businesses to thrive without necessarily following the rules and regulations. However, legal action against these businesses is short-lived as they use their power and influence to overthrow and change rulings. This forms the beginning of injustices against the minority people in America. Lack of equality in the business arena causes an economic crisis that leads to low upward economic mobility.

Neighborhood Dynamics

Real estate is one of the largest but most expensive industries in the U.S. Historically, the real estate market is imbalanced due to adverse external and internal factors. The real estate industry is engrained in profiling people according to their properties and profits accumulated from their businesses, leading to societal structures. People who amass enormous profits are known as the high class, followed closely by the middle class who earn average profits. The farmers and peasants are categorized as lower-class citizens  (Nicholas). The social type determines the housing structures, as most high-class citizens can move upwards in the societal classes. On the other hand, the minorities have relatively low social mobility and therefore live in scanty and undefined houses

This has led to the unprecedented rise in ghettoization in the urban areas. This phenomenon has become a growing concern for urban planners, sociologists, and government officials. Anchored on education, source of income, involvement in crime, and policing act, this phenomenon has caused a drastic decline in the upward economic mobility index. According to the WHO, ghettoization is an urban planning dysfunction that has looming effects on the local and urban economies. People living in ghettos set up temporal housing structures on land specialized for public use, such as green spaces and walkable designs. Living in ghetto areas exposes one to poor living conditions; crime impedes any form of social progress in society (Peter). Majority of people living in modified regions do not have access to good schools, which lowers their chances of becoming educated, establish a career, and become active members of society. This people do not receive any form of support and may succumb to mental illness, drugs, or crime. Historically this people end up being victims of the capitalistic market, thus inhibiting their upward economic mobility as well as their peers


In the recent past, the policing culture has become a salient topic in the U.S.  Police discrimination is a button topic that has become the center stage for political and economic arguments. From this perspective, the policing culture, such as the redlining phenomenon, is slightly correlated to an individual potential to move up the social hierarchy (Barbara). Police are prejudiced against black people and often harm or endanger their life due to false accusations of certain stereotypes. For decades black Americans have been treated as second-class citizens, and sometimes minor crimes can lead to severe beatings and execution without trials or legal proceedings. In extreme cases, black Americans can be charged and convicted without a trial or any substantial evidence.  Life in prison affects one life as he/she cannot actively contribute to the economy’s growth and development. Subsequently, the individual losses social status and become a convict. The person will not have access to employment, education, and will not move up the societal class (Steven).


Debt levels

Another major issue ailing the upward economic mobility is the debt levels in the American System. The capitalistic system has given rise to numerous credit loan avenues (Ben and Andrew). Available to all people irrespective of their income, living conditions, taxes, and credit loans are an enigma ailing the American System. A significant percentage of black people live off credit loans. Easy provision of loans and credit is deeply implicated as one of the key drivers of poverty in America. Loan acquisition without a solid investment plan can lead to substantial financial losses as loans garner interests after a given period can become overwhelming for the individual. For instance, with the cost of a degree rising every day, students have leveraged on the numerous student loans available with the hope of a successful career to settle the debts.

Meanwhile student loans continue to accrue interest, which poses a potential crisis for the young people as these debts may haunt them throughout adulthood (Hua). Following this, people fail to offset their debts, therefore accruing enormous debts leading to auctions. From this perspective, people end up in debt throughout their adulthood, which affects their potential to scale up the social classes.


For decades eviction has been overlooked as a problem ailing the American System. According to social scientists, eviction inhibits wealth creation in minority communities  (Matthew). Although many evictions are due to unpaid rent, most of them are indiscriminate against people from various backgrounds. For decades the minority have been subjected to harsh treatment and humiliation from their landlord based on their skin color. Often than not, black people are evicted from rented spaces without any formal warning. During this process, black people loss jobs due to the drastic change in their lives.

Furthermore, eviction causes an adverse credit history, which lowers the chances of securing another house. In the event of an informal eviction, families are stranded and undergo a period of stagnant incomes while the housing costs continue to skyrocket. Sociologists, policymakers, and journalists argue that eviction limits economic mobility as it disrupts an individual capacity to thrive and live in a certain place.

Minorities in society have experienced great Injustice that has shaped the trajectory for upward economic mobility in the community. Anchored on the capitalistic system, these modern-day atrocities have exacerbated the creation of systems and structures that curtail wealth acquisition and creation. Prejudicial injustices towards a particular group of people based on their color and origin have led to discriminatory actions in employment courts, policing, evictions, healthcare, neighborhood dynamics, and loan acquisition. Our current system needs pillars based on positive and healthy community activism and diversity to counter all the social inequities ailing economic mobility.

Works Cited

Alvin, Chang. White America is quietly self-segregating. July 2018. <>.

Barbara, Hagerty Bradley. “An Epidemic of Disbelief.” 2019. The Atlantic. <>.

Ben, Casselman and Flowers Andrew. “Rich Kids Stay Rich, Poor Kids Stay Poor.” 2016. FiveThirtyEight. <>.

Hua, Hsu. Student Debt Is Transforming the American Family. 2019. <>.

Mary, Bogle, et al. “Boosting Upward Mobility.” 2020. Urban. <>.

Matthew, Desmond. Forced Out. 2016. <>.

Nicholas, Monk. “The Native American Reissance.” Frye, Steven. the Cambridge Companion to Literature of the American West. Cambridge University Press, 2016. 136.

Peter, Dreier. “Who benefits from Gentrification.” 2017. KCET. <>.

Richard, Wilkinson. How Economic Inequality Harms Societies. 2011. <>.

Steven, Thrasher. “”i can breathe,” and the occasional fear of covering protests.” 2014. Contexts. <>.



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