The text is a current, concise treatment of America's ever-changing class structure. Updated throughout, this sixth edition focuses on change. Dennis Gilbert includes new data on topics such as the distribution of earnings and residential segregation by class to reveal a consistent pattern of growing inequality since the early 1970s. Why, Gilbert asks, is this happening? He examines change in the economy, family life, and politics in search of an answer. This book retains the strengths that contributed to the success of previous editions. It synthesizes the best empirical studies of class and inequality in American society, focusing on nine key variables: occupation, income, wealth, prestige, association, socialization, class consciousness, power, and social mobility. Critical attention is given to major studies, from the classic small-town ethnographies of the 1930s to contemporary analyses of national mobility data. Historical sections show how the class system has changed and continues to evolve. Two strong chapters examine the relationship between social class and politics.