skip to main content skip to footer

Dimensions of Social Stratification for Whites and Blacks: The Toledo Study NICHD

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Factor Analysis, Interviews, Racial Differences, Sampling, Socioeconomic Influences, Surveys, Toledo Study


The aims of this study were (a) to determine the major dimensions of social stratification for White as well as Black Americans and (b) to explore the existence of distinct social classes. A survey was conducted with 225 White and 206 Black household heads in Toledo, Ohio, using a highly structured interview that included variables reflecting major theoretical dimensions of stratification, important indexes, and well established correlates. Eighteen first-order factors were found for Whites and 19 for Blacks. Five factors matched in the two samples: social status, residence, organization activity, political activity and efficacy, and main support's social status. Other important factors, unique to each sample, were: for Whites, self employee and majority group membership, and for Blacks, class consciousness and method variance. The indexes, except for Own Education, did not consistently load the factors that they presumably tap. Second- and third-order factors were also obtained, but they were difficult to interpret. Two separate cluster analyses of individuals, based on their score profiles on social status variables, identified 37 and 47 clusters of White respondents, the largest cluster containing 13 people. (The cluster analyses were not done for Blacks.) All in all, the present findings indicate that stratification is more complex than anticipated by current conceptualizations, previous research, and existing indexes. These results also point up the need for revising the theoretical formulations and using more appropriate measures of the salient dimensions. (243pp.)

Read More