Updated on January 31, 2024
Article byJyotsna Suthar
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Socioeconomics Definition

Socioeconomics is a branch of economics that studies the relationship between social behavior of people and economics. The main purpose of this branch is to understand that the economic status of a nation is shaped by the societal changes. It is also known as social economics.


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Socioeconomic factors like social norms, sentiments, income, education, and social behavior can have a huge impact on the economy. Socioeconomics thus tries to explain how social variables can affect the activities within the nation. Plus, it understands the consumer’s behavior and future trends. However, the socioeconomic level relies heavily on sociology.

Key Takeaways

  • Socioeconomics is a branch of sociology that studies the behavior of social groups and their influence on economic activities. 
  • It is also known as social economics; those studying it are known as social economists. They form certain socioeconomic classes based on similar characteristics. 
  • A few factors that impact this branch are income distribution, education, social norms, occupation, social class, health, gender, geological location, and government programs. 
  • Economists like Gary Becker, Max Weber, and Friedrich Hayek have contributed a lot to the theory of social economics.

Socioeconomics Explained

Socioeconomics is a field of sociology that includes the involvement of social groups and their influence on the economy and nation. It focuses on how social structures and norms behave with society. Also, it considers how race, gender, and occupation can affect economic activities like per capita income, demand, and wealth distribution.

Two theories provide a clear perspective on socioeconomic issues. American Economist and Nobelist Gary Stanley Becker proposed the first theory. Becker understood the concepts of human behavior with the help of neoclassical economics theory. This theory also dealt with discriminative topics like drug abuse, crime, marriage, and family matters. Likewise, the second theory has a deeper relationship with the concepts of sociology. This socioeconomics level applies branches like sociology and psychology to understand consumer behavior in human resources and the labor market.

Other economists contributing to the socioeconomic problems include Max Weber and Friedrich Hayek. German economist Max Weber states that social and behavioral patterns can influence economic development. It involved the evolution and involvement of institutional arrangements. In contrast, Hayek argued that economic growth can be achieved through a proper framework of social norms.

Majorly, socioeconomic issues rely on theories of sociology. It understands how human habits can lead to economic development. However, social economists study the people living in the socioeconomic classes. Each class consists of humans with similar features. Likewise, it becomes easy to study numerous people through one socioeconomic level. But it is vital to note that each class has a different income distribution and spending habits. As a result, the impact of each class on the economy varies. In addition, social economic status also influences economic behavior.

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Let us look at a few examples of socioeconomic problems to understand the concept better:

Example #1

Suppose Vineville is a town located in the mid-skirts of the state. In total, there are approximately 800-1000 people residing in that town. Each is engaged in a different occupation, business, or economic activity. The following are the socioeconomic factors that influence the state:

  1. Income Distribution

Here, the average income of Vineville is $50,000 per year. However, each individual learns differently. For example, workers might receive $600 as annual income. At the same time, business people may earn $5000 per year. The combined income of each class forms the average income of the state.

  1. Employment or Occupation

Of 1000 residents, 40% are workers, 20% are business people, 30% are merchants, and the rest 10% are homemakers.

  1. Education and Gender ratio

In Vineville, a maximum (60-70%) are literate with graduation. However, the rest 30% are illiterate, hence, work as laborers. Likewise, the gender ratio in this town is 1:5, which means every one female for five males.

With the help of the above information, social economists can develop socioeconomic classes. Hence, it will become easy to understand the impact on the whole economy.

Example #2

According to a 2023 Population Health Sciences Institute study, socioeconomics inequalities help in theories for NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) patients. The studies show that people with lower socioeconomic backgrounds have fewer survival chances and vice versa. As a result, the patients tend to have minimal access to treatment in such areas.


Let us look at the significance or importance of socioeconomics to comprehend it better:

  • With the help of socioeconomics, users can understand the distribution of population and gender in the nation. It also enables us to detect any disparities within the population.
  • It helps the policymakers and government while making decisions. Plus, it also allows them to understand the impact of these policies on different social groups.
  • It acts as a supportive tool for determining the economic development of the nation. Social factors, like norms, education, health, and occupation, can boost economic productivity.
  • Socioeconomics can help in calculating and predicting future trends in the market. Also, it lays an important foundation for academic research and analysis.


Let us look at the impact of socioeconomic status on the various economic classes of the nation:

#1 – Inequality And Social Status

Socioeconomic factors play a vital role in determining and influencing the inequality within the nation. For example, if a family belongs to a lower-income group, there are chances of low economic status. Thus, a collection of similar groups can cause a low growth rate in the nation.

#2 – Poverty And Social Growth

There are various instances where poverty and social growth are interrelated. Using social economics can detect the root causes of poverty and help in eradication. Thus, policymakers can consider these factors and take considerable steps toward them.

#3 – Environmental Impact

Various consumer behavior patterns do have certain impacts on the flora and fauna. For example, a certain class consuming cigarettes or emitting harmful gasses can destroy the vegetation in the area. Thus, it can cause a severe impact on the environment.

#4 – Cohesion And Crime Rates

Socioeconomic levels can also cause a rise in criminal activities in the economy. A rise in unemployment can cause poverty, influencing individuals to indulge in crime. However, economic development and growth can foster the rate of illegal actions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How socioeconomic status affects education?

Various studies determine the relationship of socioeconomic status to education. Some state that parents with less social and economic background concentrate less on their children’s education. Likewise, such kids tend to choose employment at an early age. Thus, they are no longer or less interested in pursuing further education. This leads to an accumulated effect where they can’t afford their own children’s education in turn, and so on. This can lead to a lack of living standards at a familial or community level.

2. Does socioeconomic status affect mental health?

Individuals with lower socioeconomic status do harm their mental health. They tend to accumulate or store negative emotions within themselves. Plus, they suffer from anxiety, stress, and also through pressure.

3. How socioeconomic status affects obesity?

According to a report by the National Institutes of Health, males with lower status have a higher risk of obesity than females. It means obesity has a high chance of affecting a person with lower socioeconomic levels.

This article has been a guide to Socioeconomics and its Definition. Here, we explain the topic with its impact, examples, and significance. You may also find some useful articles here –

Reader Interactions


  1. sfundo Doyisa says

    I agree because many people out there are suffering by lack of job opportunities

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