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Indexes of Social Stratification: Some Cautionary Findings NICHD SES

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), African Americans, Caucasians, Factor Analysis, Field Studies, Indexes (Social), Social Stratification, Socioeconomic Status (SES), Toledo Study


This paper presents some factor analytic findings obtained in the course of a larger study, on the ability of common indexes of status, class and power to measure major dimensions of stratification for Whites and Black Americans. A highly structured questionnaire was given to 206 Black and 225 White heads-of-household in Toledo, Ohio, and surroundings areas in 1967-68. The findings indicate that the indexes do not adequately measure the social stratification domain and that they fail to define any of the five matching factors (matched Black American to White) other than social status. Although most of the matching factors cannot be assessed by the indexes, all five can be measured by other variables in the analysis.

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