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Is a new structurally dispossessed class developing in the United States?


British Journal of Sociology

Published online on


["\nAbstract\nThis study inquires whether a new structurally dispossessed class is developing in the United States. The new class proposition is derived from social theory and operationalized by two empirical characteristics: not in the labor force (NILF) and family income below poverty. The primary data source is the Current Population Survey over the years from 1968 to 2018, and threshold demographic criteria for class development is specified as increasing size and diversity. Because evidence is found to support the latter criterion but not the former, the proposition that a new class is developing is partially rejected. The analysis finds that new social components are joining the NILF/impoverished including men, Hispanics, college graduates, and young adults. Second, that the NILF/impoverished are politically active in terms of electoral participation, and no more likely than the total electorate to have voted for a populist Presidential candidate in 2016. NILF/impoverished recipiency of state transfers varies over time, increasing through the Great Recession, then receding. The implications of the investigation are discussed in terms of the likelihood that the NILF/impoverished will generate new forms of political opposition to the rule of capital.\n", "The British Journal of Sociology, EarlyView. "]