There is a belief that depending on where people live, their life chances can vary tremendously. The term life chances was first used by sociologist Max Weber in 1948 he believed that people’s life chances were guided by their economic position. This also affected their ability to gain employment or own a property. People’s life chances can therefore be positive or negative depending on their social and economic background. Different life chances are all connected, education can affect the type of employment that a person gains which can effect where they live and the type of housing they acquire. This can all affect wealth and income and will have a bearing on how much choice people have.
Life chances means how well people do in life and housing wealth plays a big part in this. Saunders 1988 debates whether brought or rented has become significant than profession in terms of influence of peoples chances. Saunders 1988 argues that housing which is brought with a mortgage or owned symbolises a source of wealth which gives people the opportunity to purchase things through the private market like education and health care rather than depending on the state.
Saunders 1988, 1990 debates that this can be gained by withdrawing money from housing in the form of capital and obtaining the means to cheaper credit as a positive part of home ownership, therefore wealth can be passed on through inheritance. The contrast to this is people who represent a different group without access to such economic wealth.
Saunders argues that housing position affects the way the people gain services and wealth this leads to great significance of a division in society even more than occupation.
Different social scientist debates that saunders over emphasised the significance of housing tenure. For example Watt(1993) argues that not enough consideration had been given to the effects of people’s potential to withdraw equity from there properties which would reduce how much their children inherit.
Forrest and Murie 1995 point out that not all owner occupied housing is alike and the quality and value vary immensely. This implies that it is mainly people’s level of income that influence their access to different types of properties.
Presently, most people rely on income to obtain a mortgage, but with a small income may need to release equity in the future to boost their pension, but those with a higher income will be able to buy bigger houses and are less inclined to withdraw equity and are more likely to pass on inheritence. Owning a property can bring more choice and wealth.
This is an example of two families that live side by side but their worlds are totally different. One family the Bretts is a single parent with four children living in a run down council flat living in the one room which is liveable whilst the rest of the flat needs work., she once had hopes and dreams for herself and her family to better herself and get out of this cycle, but raising her children on income support and becoming susceptible to loan sharks which can make her situation look better with the extra money,
The other family the Confinos has two working parents in professional jobs and four children. But live in a six bedroom house where they are able to give their children everything, the family do not go without and have a very prosperous lifestyle.
The eldest Brett child is still hanging on at college, but finding it difficult to maintain studying and working part time with hopes of going to university. But this is made difficult by her situation at home with the whole family living within one room, whilst the Confinos children have ample space for their children to study and thrive in a spacious, relaxed living environment, (Graft, 2003)