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Various models of global stratification all have one thing in common: they rank countries according to their relative economic status, or gross national product (GNP). Traditional models, now considered outdated, used labels to describe the stratification of the different areas of the world. Simply put, they were named “first world, “second world,” and “third world.” First and second world described industrialized nations, while third world referred to “undeveloped” countries (Henslin 2004). When researching existing historical sources, you may still encounter these terms, and even today people still refer to some nations as the “third world.”

Another model separates countries into two groups: more developed and less developed. More-developed nations have higher wealth, such as Canada, Japan, and Australia. Less-developed nations have less wealth to distribute among higher populations, including many countries in central Africa, South America, and some island nations.

Yet another system of global classification defines countries based on the per capita gross domestic product (GDP), a country’s average national wealth per person. The GDP is calculated (usually annually) one of two ways: by totaling either the income of all citizens or the value of all goods and services produced in the country during the year. It also includes government spending. Because the GDP indicates a country’s productivity and performance, comparing GDP rates helps establish a country’s economic health in relation to other countries.

The figures also establish a country’s standard of living. According to this analysis, a GDP standard of a middle-income nation represents a global average. In low-income countries, most people are poor relative to people in other countries. Citizens have little access to amenities such as electricity, plumbing, and clean water. People in low-income countries are not guaranteed education, and many are illiterate. The life expectancy of citizens is lower than in high-income countries.

The big picture: calculating global stratification

A few organizations take on the job of comparing the wealth of nations. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is one of them. Besides a focus on population data, the PRB publishes an annual report that measures the relative economic well-being of all the world’s countries. It’s called the Gross National Income (GNI) and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

The GNI measures the current value of goods and services produced by a country. The PPP measures the relative power a country has to purchase those same goods and services. So, GNI refers to productive output and PPP refers to buying power. The total figure is divided by the number of residents living in a country to establish the average income of a resident of that country.

Because costs of goods and services vary from one country to the next, the GNI PPP converts figures into a relative international unit. Calculating GNI PPP figures helps researchers accurately compare countries’ standard of living. They allow the United Nations and Population Reference Bureau to compare and rank the wealth of all countries and consider international stratification issues (nationsonline.org).

Summary

Global stratification compares the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries as a whole. By comparing income and productivity between nations, researchers can better identify global inequalities.

Short answer

Why is it important to understand and be aware of global stratification? Make a list of specific issues that are related to global stratification. For inspiration, turn on a news channel or read the newspaper. Next, choose a topic from your list, and look at it more closely. Who is affected by this issue? How is the issue specifically related to global stratification?

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Compare a family that lives in a grass hut in Ethiopia to an American family living in a trailer home in the Unites States. Assuming both exist at or below the poverty levels established by their country, how are the families’ lifestyles and economic situations similar and how are they different?

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Further research

Nations Online refers to itself as “among other things, a more or less objective guide to the world, a statement for the peaceful, nonviolent coexistence of nations.” The website provides a variety of cultural, financial, historical, and ethnic information on countries and peoples throughout the world: (External Link) .

References

Millennium Project. 2006. “Expanding the financial envelope to achieve the Goals.” Millennium Project Official Website. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Nationsonline.org. “Countries by Gross National Income (GNI).” Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

PRB.org. “GNI PPP Per Capita (US$).” PRB 2011 World Population Data Sheet . 2011 Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Rostow, Walt W. 1960. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto . Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Landler, Mark, and David E. Sanger. 2009. “World Leaders Pledge $1.1 Trillion for Crisis.” New York Times , April 3. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

What is family
Sukhjit Reply
family is type of relationship in this it deals with positive and negative tearms and conditions
unknown
who's a sociologist
Denis Reply
family is a group of people who are lived under one roof and they have a biological relation.
what is the origin and development of sociology?
namiak Reply
can any one will differentiate between social movement and pressure group?
Nasiru Reply
what is the origin and development of sociology?
namiak
Do you believe that Americans may be somewhat more ethnocentric than people in the other Western industrial nations? If so, why might this be the case? If not, why is this widely believed?
Elizabeth Reply
first of all the nation have the belive an faith in their ritualistic religion people go in different temple but they don't knew the culture and the ritual of all religions so human make the braches of religion and human follows it also with this Americans also follow their own god and goodness ...
unknown
Yes, because Americans are more inclined to their culture and want to superimpose theirs to the entire world. They always show their supremacy.
Hemendra
why do people deviate from socital norms
cornelius Reply
people deviate from scital norms because their reputation matter that is why they do not involve themself in big issue of society to solve the problem. They see what is going on they are aslo intrested to knew but they not say anything on that time its a human nature which is selfishness kind...
unknown
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unknown
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Evelyn Reply
what is sociology
Jobee Reply
Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life. 
Aamirah
Sociology is simply the study of culture and society
Kooko
sociology is a social science that studies human behavior
Nelly
sociology stands socious. sociology is the study of social awareness to knew the knowlege of social culture and social issue .sociology aways follow the instruction of social behavior in the society . it have some rule and regulation
unknown
sociology is the study of culture and individual behavior of a particular society or community
galiwango
yes August comte is a father of sociology
Salahu Reply
May You give me "Deviance and Conformity" For assignment
Mankai Reply
what is deviance
Abdullahi
Deviance means deviate behaviour (to safe him or her from any social issue of society)and conformity for assignment means conform for work (HE OR SHE is willing to do that work with full of conformation )
unknown
definition of culture
Ameh Reply
culture is habit of a society, pattern of social interaction and life style
fadi
Culture is the totality ways of peoples life.
Nwoye
What is the Scope of Sociology?
Mankai
scope of sociology is the study of social awareness and it have the some diffrent boundaries to follow the some rules and regulations in it
unknown
No..... scope is not correct as told by Akriri
capt
scope is a subject matter where we study about the particular area .Every science have own field of inquiry becouse it is difficult to study science systematically
unknown
scope of sociology is to develop our understanding of societal units and it provides us opportunity to serve them as well through adjoining various social groups and NGOs.
Lokesh
yes.... to some extent scope is subject matter but we must understand scope of sociology by understanding what is NOT a thing to be studied by sociologists eg. phycological aspects.
capt
Identify and criticize 1 psychological theory of sociological development
bobby
what do you make of Karl max's contribution to sociology?
Kategaya Reply
Classic Marxist theory has been criticised for being economically deterministic. Marx argued that 'economic laws' determined not only the shape of society but also the direction of history itself. ... The Communist Revolutions in Eastern Europe did not lead to greater equality and freedom
Yusuf Reply
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Muhammed
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Akash
i think auguste comte
fadi
auguste comte
Kinnu
Help me discuss the criticism against Marx's ideal society.
Chika Reply
Hi ı am new here, we can discuss topics if you want😊
Buket
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fadi
the criticizm of society is calld various of peopel to society ant society to people
Prince
what is a monogamous family?
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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