1. Economic Status:  How It Affects The Way We Live


To increase awareness and understanding of economics

To appreciate the different values people place on economic well-being.


Economics, human geography


Cognitive, reflective


One hour


Visual impression tends to be our first indication of  social and economic status.  When viewing photographs of different cultures we often place people in certain economic brackets based on what our culture considers “rich” or “poor”.  Social and economic status is a relative thing.  What seems rich to one person may seem poor to another.  This activity will explore the theme of economic status and encourage participants to view status as a relative matter.


Understanding of the term socio-economic status


The educator will pick a number of different family photographs from the book and show them to the group.  The participants will write down their impressions of the families’ socio-economic status in a brief phrase.  They will do this for each photograph.

Once this has been completed, the educator will ask the participants to read out some of their impressions.  The following questions could be used for a discussion:

  1. What led you to your impressions?
  2. Would these families survive in your environment?  Explain your answers.
  3. Would you survive in their environment?
  4. What are the three essentials for survival? (food, water, shelter)

The educator can then provide details about the following two families and lead into the discussion topics below.

  1. Manual from Cesar’s Valleyo, Peru, lives in a shantytown but is fortunate to have a regular job enabling his family to afford a few luxury items such as a T.V., refrigerator and radio.  His family has an adequate house and he hopes to send his children to university.
  1. The Torres family from Llanaville, Peru also live in a shantytown but are not so fortunate.  Francisco does not have a steady job and his family struggles to obtain the bare essentials.  They have little food, a poor shelter and must fetch their water.

Discussion topics:

  1. Compare the wealth of family “A” to that of family “B” using Peruvian standards.
  2. Compare your family to family “A” using Canadian standards.


Text:  Families of the World

Writing materials