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Definition of Inequality

(noun) The uneven and unfair distribution of opportunities and rewards that increase power, prestige, and wealth for individuals or groups; social disparity.

Types of Inequality

  • class inequality
  • gender inequality
  • global inequality
  • physical inequality
  • racial inequality

Inequality Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: in·e·qual·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /in-i-kwAHl-uh-tee/
  • British English – /in-i-kwOl-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈɪniˈkwɑləti/
  • British English – /ɪnɪˈkwɒlɪti/

Usage Note

  • Plural: inequalities

Related Quotations

Related Videos

Additional Information

Related Terms


Apple, Michael W. 1990. Ideology and Curriculum. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Note: Read for free at the Open Libary.

Davis, Kingsley, and Wilbert E. Moore. 1945. “Some Principles of Stratification.” American Sociological Review 10(2):242–49. doi:10.2307/2085643.

Hauhart, Robert C. 2003. “The Davis-Moore theory of Stratification: The Life Course of a Socially Constructed Classic.” The American Sociologist 34(4):5–24. doi:10.1007/s12108-003-1013-y.

Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Marger, Martin. 1985. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Encyclopædia Britannica. (N.d.) Britannica Digital Learning. (https://britannicalearn.com/).

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Reference. (http://www.oxfordreference.com/).

Ritzer, George, ed. 2007. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Stolley, Kathy S. 2005. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

Cite the Definition of Inequality

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2018. “inequality.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 28, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/inequality/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

inequality. (2018). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/inequality/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2018. “inequality.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/inequality/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“inequality.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2018. Web. 28 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/inequality/>.