5 Social Issues in Urban Environments

five-social-issues-in-urban-environmentsUrban environments are complex. Along with offering cultural attractions like museums and restaurants, these areas are home to diverse populations. Ones that include people of different ethnic, racial and income backgrounds. Urban environments are also places that face numerous social issues. Five of the most common social issues in urban environments include:

• The need for quality education
• A lack of job opportunities
• Gender inequality
• Discrimination
• The need for better healthcare

Quality Education

In many urban environments, a quality education is attainable, but often, this opportunity is only available to those who live in a city's affluent areas. The children of individuals who have a decreased socioeconomic status, single parents and immigrants frequently fail to receive a quality education. Unequal fund allocation, residential segregation and a shortage of available cultural institutions are just a few of the reasons for the educational failures. In addition, when urban areas are lacking educational opportunities, the problem usually begins in preschool and extends to the college level. Everyone deserves a quality education.

Better Job Opportunities

While many people live in urban environments for work opportunities, unemployment continues to be an issue in many of them. The Great Recession brought about major issues in regards to employment options and people's finances. In some industries, rebounds have occurred, but in others, companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Some are choosing to decrease expenses by downsizing their workforces. Because of this, numerous qualified people are finding it tough to get a job. Even when they are willing to take a lower paying one or labor at a job that they are overqualified to perform, many people continue to struggle to find employment.

Gender Inequality

From the tech industry to Hollywood, equality for women continues to plague the country. In many of the nation's workplaces, women make less money than men. In addition, women hold fewer high-level positions. In fact, according to an article in The Huffington Post, 95 percent of the country's CEO positions are held by men. This disparity is creating income inequality. In urban communities, social issues are worse when inequality exists. More mental and physical illnesses arise in these societies. They also suffer from lower literacy and math scores. Decreased social mobility and higher imprisonment rates are prevalent in urban societies that experience gender inequality.


Despite the change in century, discrimination continues to exist. In some areas, it appears to have gotten worse. Racism, backlash against Muslims and hostility toward members of the LGBT community frequently flare up. While discrimination also occurs in rural communities, urban areas see more incidents of it due to their increased populations and residential proximity. According to a Pew study, those who reside in urban areas confirm that they see more instances of racial inequality than people who reside in rural locales. The country has a long way to go when it comes to discrimination.

Access to Quality Healthcare

Quality healthcare is a social issue that causes problems for those who live in urban environments. The country's healthcare changes appear to be improving the situation since more people have insurance, but the system is far from perfect. Those of lower socioeconomic status as well as minorities often reside in urban locales, and these groups frequently lack health insurance. Because of this, they may not have access to quality care. Often, people who live in urban environments turn to emergency rooms for healthcare. In addition, when people lack health insurance, they become a drain on the available help systems and fail to seek preventative care.

Doing Your Part

By attending college and obtaining a degree, you can avoid being affected by the social issues that afflict urban environments. A degree will give you a chance at a better future, and it will allow you to help those who are less fortunate. (See: 20 High-value BSW Degrees in Metro Areas with Top Salaries for Social Workers)