Exploring Society By The Numbers

Teaching Module To Demonstrate Race and Career Inequalities Are There Racial Inequalities Present in My Intended Career Path?

Stephen Sweet
Dept of Sociology
Ithaca College

John Paul DeWitt
Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN)
Institute for Social Research (ISR)
University of Michigan
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In this module students use employment data from the 2000 Census concerning adult full-time workers (individuals age 25 and older who work at least 35 hours per week). The question they consider concerns overall economic opportunity, as applied to their intended occupation and the extent to which access to opportunity varies by race.

Learning Goals

1.Understand the system that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to categorize occupations and how economic opportunity can be quantified within those occupations.
2.Develop capacities to take pre-existing quantitative information and reconfigure it to provide greater depth of knowledge using numeric calculations, prose, and visual presentations of data.
3.Identify the extent to which work opportunity (the number of jobs allocated) and compensation (earnings) can vary on the basis of race.
4.Consider the factors that may account for racial disparities in employment and earnings.

Context for Use

The exercise is designed for application in Introduction to Sociology, and it can be applied in other undergraduate social science courses that consider issues of work, opportunity, inequality, and race.

Description and Teaching Materials

Instructions for Students and Data Sets
Instructions for Students (Microsoft Word 262kB Sep16 10)
Data on Earnings and Employment by Race (Excel 166kB Sep16 10)

Teaching Notes and Tips


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