12 Sep 2022


Inequality within a section of the population

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Term Paper

Words: 2845

Pages: 11

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Inequality within a section of the population leads to different levels of development and ultimately, poverty. Inequality among people in a locality is a result of some issues. First, demographics play a part in determining the levels of success of individuals within a group because certain demographics predispose individuals to definite social networks. Additionally, income and wealth distribution determines inequality as does the quality and accessibility of education. This paper studies a neighborhood, Flushing, located in Queens County, NY. It explores the strength and weaknesses that characterize the neighborhood. An analysis of the neighborhood’s demographics and other variables will enable careful examination of the levels of inequality within the locality and yield the reasons for such results. The paper applies systems theory to analyze the data collected from the study of the neighborhood. The use of the theory will help explain the inequality levels in the neighborhood. 

Definition and Description 

A neighborhood is a community that occupies a common geographical location within a city, town, and suburb or even in a rural area. It is also a social grouping that interacts, interactions that include face-to-face contact among its members (Subramanian et al., 2006). Neighborhood is more commonly identified as being ensconced within a particular boundary whereby the individual members within it try to realize some values common to the group and socialize as well as maintain unwritten systems of social control (Carter, 2011). Typically, neighborhoods will have their strengths and weaknesses, and the rate at which the two variables occur is dependent on some factors. Hutchison (2010) explains that the factors range from the extent of social control within it, the levels of individual interaction and wealth distribution among others. For a person intending to conduct an assessment of the strength and weaknesses of an organization, they must use some methods, which include determining the levels of education, income and wealth distribution, demographics, and historical development, local politics, business, and housing as well as the levels of social control (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). 

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Flushing is a neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Queens. Most of the places in the area are residential, but it has a large Asian population that makes up much of the neighborhood’s financial base. Indeed, it is the fourth largest central business district within the city of New York. Flushing boasts of a large number of ethnic groups that comprises of Europeans, Middle Eastern, Asian, Black American and even Hispanic groups (U. S Census Bureau, 2015). It comprises of people of mixed incomes with some living in squalor on dangerous sides of the neighborhood while others dwell in much better conditions. An understanding of the wealth distribution in the area is important as the conditions found in neighborhood can either facilitate or impede the physical and financial wellbeing of the residents (Leventhal & Brook-Gunn, 2003). 

Neighborhoods and the relationships that exist between the individuals within them will either regress or develop the community. The levels of success or failures mainly depend on how the residents interact with each other to maintain a highly functional society. Additionally, integration and collaboration between various income disparate groups within the neighborhood will help with wealth distribution and, eventually, good neighborhood outcomes (Mills, 1978). As Hardcastle, Powers, and Wenocur (2004) point out, for any social system to exist and flourish, it must be distinctly separable from other such systems and be different from its surroundings. The authors argue that a system must have boundaries and that it has to have a relationship with its environment. They point out that some degree of closure is necessary for the social system to remain intact and in a coherent state. Another important factor they observe about a human system is the need to exchange information and resources with other systems. The information collected must also be acted upon by the human system to maintain itself and flourish (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). Kirst-Ashman (2011) also postulates that individuals within a social group will act based on their social learning, which involves cues, cognitions, rewards, and punishment associated with an action. 

The neighborhoods in which people live have the power to affect the development of the residents. The areas affected in an individual are in cognition and physical as well as emotional wellbeing (Goldenberg, 1978). The effect becomes great when the individual lives in such conditions throughout their entire lifespan. Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn (2003) point out that neighborhood residence may be a source of disparities of socio-economic situations of individuals in them. They point out that the resources commanded by a family may determine the neighborhoods in which they live. Another viewpoint that they bring forth is that studies on the development of children have shown that the socioeconomic situations of families transmit views of inequities to the parents and children. They also explain that child and adolescent upbringing is dependent partly on the levels of poverty or affluence found in the immediate spaces in which they reside. Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn (2003) further explain that high socioeconomic levels in a neighborhood are positively associated with the children and youth educational achievement and readiness to join schools. In contrast, neighborhoods with low socioeconomic variables tend to be adversely associated with poor social and emotional outcomes (Subramanian et al., 2006). The disparity goes on to affect the educational performance of both sides of the divide and upsets the two sides’ social and emotional development. 

Systems Theory 

Systems theory, if applied to the study of the neighborhood of Flushing in Queens, may be described as the study of systems with the aim of unearthing the patterns that make up the social interactions within the community (Goldenberg, 1978). Systems theory encompasses the study of self-regulating systems that work towards improving itself through the processing of feedback. The availability of feedback enables a social system to find out what is wrong in interactions within itself and on the outside and is, therefore, able to correct itself (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). Hardcastle, Powers, and Wenocur (2004) have described the learning processes as the social system that utilizes information to make it flourish. They further explain that the ability to process, create, and act on information is what makes human systems unique. Using systems theory is, therefore, vital for the study of the neighborhood of Flushing to find out the specific distribution of inequality in wealth, education, and demographic differences. The use of the theory will enable the variables that have an effect on the neighborhoods distribution to be analyzed in a way that reveals how those variables’ influence inequalities and how they can be managed to lower or eliminate the inequalities (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). 


Flushing was originally established as a Dutch colony in 1645. During the early periods of existence, it was the home of English colonialists who advocated for change in religious policies in the town (Hanson, 2002). Afterward, the English took over control of the town from the Dutch and used it as a quartering section during the American Revolution. During the 19th century, continued economic growth and improvements in economy transformed the town into a strong commercial and residential locality. Its proximity to the city of New York and construction of roads and bridges that linked the town to Manhattan propelled it into success (Hanson, 2002). Hanson (2002) explains that gradually, its farmland was subdivided, and the town slowly became a densely populated neighborhood of New York City. During the 1970’s, increased populations of Chinese communities chose to settle in the town whose demographics had been predominantly white interspaced with micro-communities of Japanese. The migrants came from Taiwan initially, but people from China’s mainland gradually continued to flock in, transforming Flushing into a mini-Chinatown (Hanson, 2002). The collection of individuals based on language is a manifestation of social systems. For the individuals to survive there must be a way for them to interact meaningfully and exchange information (Carter, 2011). Much of the demographics in Flushing are, therefore, influenced by the understanding and speaking of the predominant Mandarin language. Indeed, a visitor may feel detached from some areas of the neighborhood as most of the signs are in Mandarin. The cultural composition of the neighborhood is, however, not entirely Chinese with a smattering of Russian, Greek, Irish, Italian, Indian and Hispanics dialects (Hanson, 2002). The distribution of the ethnic communities has given rise to more businesses catering to each community thereby improving the income distribution through the various ethnicities. 

Flushing is part of the Fifth Congressional District that spreads over the whole of the northeast shore of the county of Queens neighboring Nassau County. Over five railway stations, as well as the New York subway, serve the neighborhood of Flushing. Certainly, the intersection that passes through the neighborhood’s Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the third busiest in the city (Hanson, 2002). The transport facilities that go through the neighborhood of Flushing make it ideal for trade as well as in the distribution of wealth. The ease of movement in the neighborhood helps it to maintain a calm demeanor because, as has been pointed out by Goldenberg (1978), the estrangement of any one population makes them feel oppressed. 

Goldenberg (1978) argues that the feeling of oppression is self-perpetuating. It leads an individual or section of a society to feel excluded. The feeling ensures that, even though they have been joined spatially, they are psychologically separate. Such a situation creates a condition whereby two communities live in parallel but non-reciprocal worlds. The ability of the group to interact in one common language enables the neighborhood to come together in trade and social interaction creating stronger bonds that may work towards improving individual lives and reducing inequality (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). 

Ethnic Diversity 

The population that is predominant in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York is that of the Mandarin-speaking people. While other ethnic communities exist in the neighborhood, its large Asian population influences much of its beliefs and attitudes. Beliefs and attitudes are attributable to several factors including the levels of education, wealth disparities, culture, and the relationships between members of a community (Hanson, 2002). Because the Asian, and particularly the Chinese culture, influences much of the neighborhood, most of the people in Flushing are of a gentle disposition. Hanson (2002) explains that Flushing is the most diverse religious community in America, and it contains numerous houses of worship. Beginning with the Dutch colonial-era Quaker meetinghouse to the more modern Catholic and Episcopal Churches to Synagogues and Greek Orthodox Churches, almost all major religions are represented. The neighborhood also hosts the oldest Hindu temple society in the whole of America and the Muslim Center of New York City. 

Socioeconomic Data 

The economic data available for the neighborhood of Flushing places it as a middle-income economy. The average yearly salary for a resident of Flushing stands at $39, 804 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). As of 2010, the population of residents of the neighborhood stood at 219, 342. Of this, 9.5% were white while the black population was 4.2%. The Hispanic made up 14.9% of the population while the majority, the Asian was 69.2% of the total population. Other minor ethnic minorities made up 2.2% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). A majority of the Asian population are people from mainland China with some Chinese from Taiwan also making up the total population. Both the high rates of legal and illegal immigration of people from China continue to fuel the growth of the Asians in Flushing. This increase in the Asian population has infused the neighborhood with the culture of the East. The culture is apparent in the business signs and calligraphy drawn in Chinese. 

Flushing’s economy is a blend of consumer businesses and service industries that cater to the large population of residents residing there. The communities various ethnic groups open businesses to cater for their own thus ensuring that wealth and income distributions are evenly maintained (Hanson, 2002). Flushing contains a large array of restaurants serving cuisines of the various ethnic groups including the Chinese and Koreans. Several businesses also have offices in the neighborhood, including the World Journal, the largest Chinese-language newspaper found outside mainland China. Several other Chinese and English language publications are available in Flushing as well. Other businesses that have cropped up within the neighborhood include highly competitive educational centers and institutions whose intent has been on the education of the community. These businesses tend to teach the language of Mandarin while some offer opportunities for students to prepare for entry-level college exams as well as training in computers and technological proficiency (Hanson, 2002). Understanding a community’s economic wellbeing is important because the levels of economic development within a community influence the quality and availability of learning resources available to families in such communities (Leventhal & Brook-Gunn, 2003). They have observed that low-income communities will provide few literacy resources such as books and libraries to children thereby directly affecting their levels of education and ultimately the welfare and economic emancipation of the entire community. 


Education is another aspect that is important in revealing the levels of integration and success of any society (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). He explains that indeed, education helps the individuals within any society to improve their well-being both regarding the relationships within the community and in their possibility for economic emancipation. Goldenberg (1978) points out that oppression manifests itself in the deliberate containment of a person in the physical and psychological senses. He points out that the goal of containment would be to narrow down and restrict the possibilities of an individual. Education through its imposition of new knowledge seeks to change the individual psychologically thus allowing them to think and interact with the environment in numerous ways thus improving their physical being (Leventhal & Brook-Gunn, 2003). Flushing has several public and private schools that seek to impart life-changing skills and knowledge to students within the community. Flushing has six public schools supervised by the New York City Department of Education with most students attending schools based on its proximity to their places of residence (Hanson, 2002). The locality has several higher education institutions including a law school and an aeronautics technology institution. It also hosts several libraries including eight branches of the Queens Borough Public Library. Such facilities are important for the betterment of individuals within the community, helps reduce the cases of inequality both in levels of education, and ultimately in income and wealth distribution levels (Subramianian et al., 2006). 


Disparities in income dictated the access and the quality that an individual or community has in such facilities as schools, eateries, hospitals or financial institutions (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). Flushing is a middle-income community that is relatively well off regarding the access and quality of the medical services available. Flushing has one major hospital and many other tertiary medical clinics that serve its residents. The New York Hospital Queens and the Flushing Hospital Medical Center are the two major institutions providing medical care to the residents of Flushing. The New York Hospital Queens, being a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System provides the community and its surrounding neighbors with comprehensive medical care. Due to the nature of the neighborhood as a middle-income economy, access to healthcare has not been a challenge. Additionally, the levels of education in the neighborhood are high and, as such, the neighborhood has adequate facilities. 

Structures influence neighborhoods. Such structures are used to institute some form of social control and security within the group (Hardcastle, Powers, & Wenocur, 2004). They explain that there is a need to institute social control structures to ensure the security of the neighborhood as well as address any challenges that may arise within the community. Social control structures also help in alleviating cases of inequality both in the financial aspects and in the accessibility to public amenities like roads and hospitals (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). The neighborhood of Flushing has community boards that act as social control mechanisms within the community (Hanson, 2002). The boards work to diffuse racial and ethnic tension within the community structures that are working to ensure that the people within the neighborhood not only live with each other but also do so in a productive and beneficial way to the entire community. It also seeks to rope in meaningful discussions among stakeholders that include the immigrants coming into the community and the residents already living there. Social control initiatives are especially necessary for the neighborhood of Flushing due to the dramatic and rapid demographic transitions that lead to competition in resources such as land and opportunities for business. Additionally, the changes in political representation and opportunities to find housing services may lead to conflicts both between individuals and between the various ethnic communities found within the neighborhood. Residents may also feel that the foreign influx disempowers them financially as the new entrants are likely to make them miss various job opportunities. Indeed, it is the discussion about outsourcing and its link to unemployment levels that makes have fear about continuing immigration. 

Cultural Diversity 

The Flushing neighborhood contains a rich mix of cultures that give it a cosmopolitan outlook ideal for the flourishing of business and other social interactions. However, due to the collection so many disparate cultures, there is a constant risk of a clash of cultures. Social control mechanisms can control the levels of interactions within the community to ensure inequality is under check and localized to allow for integration and social interactions (Kirst-Ashman, 2011). The wide variety of ethnic groupings makes Flushing a strong community. If it interacts with minimum conflicts, it may serve as a model worth emulating. However, the differences in languages spoken threaten to turn Flushing into a neighborhood separated from its neighbors leading to exclusion. While the exclusion is at times necessary for the development of particular social structures, as postulated by Hardcastle, Powers, and Wenocur (2004), the exclusion may lead to increased disparities in income and business opportunities. Additionally, the effect of such closed structures will cause alienation by other surrounding communities and hinder the neighborhoods interaction with people of other ethnicities. 


Flushing is neighborhood near the city of New York. It is a cosmopolitan area with distinct ethnic communities largely dominated by immigrants from China. The community belongs to the middle class. This paper assessed and explored the neighborhood as a community. It established the components of its demographics. It utilized social theory to analyze the data attributed to the makeup of the inequality in the community. It explains the community’s demographics, income and wealth distribution, availability of educational facilities, ease of access and availability of health structures and social control mechanisms as well as safety. 


Carter, I. (2011). Human behavior in the social environment: A social systems approach (Vol. 1) . Hawthorne, NY: Aldine Transaction. 

Goldenberg, I. I. (1978). Oppression and social intervention: Essays on the human condition and the problems of change . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub Co. 

Hardcastle, D. A., Powers, P. R., & Wenocur, S. (2004). Community practice: Theories and skills for social workers . New York, NY: Oxford University Press, USA. 

Hutchison, E. D. (2010). Dimensions of human behavior: Person and environment . New York, NY: Sage Publications. 

Kirst-Ashman, K. (2015). Empowerment series: Introduction to social work & social welfare: critical thinking perspectives . Scarborough, ON: Nelson Education. 

Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). On children and families. Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development , 209 . London: Routledge. 

Mills, C. W. (1978). The sociological imagination . Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Subramanian, S. V., Kubzansky, L., Berkman, L., Fay, M., &Kawachi, I. (2006). Neighborhood effects on the self-rated health of elders: Uncovering the relative importance of structural and service-related neighborhood environments. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences , 61 (3), S153-S160. 

Hanson, R. S. (2002). City of Gods: Religious freedom, immigration, and pluralism in Flushing, Queens--New York City, 1945-2000 . Chicago: University of Chicago. 

United States Census Bureau (2015). QuickFacts . Retrieved on April 21, 2016, from http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/map/INC110213/36081 

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