Ascribed vs Achieved Status: Difference and Comparison

Status is a person’s social position in society, home, and office. Status describes a person’s religion, occupation, gender, age, and caste.


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A person’s behaviour and role are defined by his status in society.  Status is categorized into two types one is ascribed status, and the other is achieved status.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ascribed status is assigned at birth based on race, gender, or family background.
  2. Achieved status is earned through individual effort and accomplishments.
  3. Ascribed status is involuntary, while achieved status reflects personal choices and achievements.

Ascribed vs Achieved Status

The difference between Ascribed status and Achieved status is that Ascribed status is status obtained by birth that is inherited status such as religion, gender, and other inherited characteristics, whereas Achieved status is obtained by one’s own efforts such as education, skills, experiences, and profession. Ascribed status is given as per the tradition and culture of the society, while achieved status is obtained as per one’s capabilities.

Ascribed vs Achieved Status

Ascribed Status describes a person’s religion, gender,  values, customs, and traditions. It is used in making personal relationships and following traditional values.

Ascribed status is achieved without effort and does not require fulfilling conditions. Ascribed status helps to satisfy inner feelings and affects the role of a person in traditional society.

Achieved status describes the professional accomplishments of a person. It changes with the change in skills, experience, and profession.

Achieved status is achieved through hard work and commitment to goals. A person has to meet the eligibility criteria of a profession to achieve professional status, which affects the role of a person in modern society.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAscribed StatusAchieved Status  
DefinitionIt is a status obtained by birthIt is a status obtained by education and skills.
RequirementsA person need not fulfill any requirements to achieve ascribed status.A person requires education qualification, skills, and expertise based on the profession he wants to achieve.
ExamplesGender, religion, caste, and raceThe profession of a person
SocietyAscribed status is significant in Traditional society  Achieved status is vital in the modern and industrial community.                                                 Achieved status is vital in the modern and industrial community.  
StatusThe status is fixed and unchanged throughout life.  The status changes over time based on one’s efforts.

What is Ascribed Status?

Status is a sociological term based on a person’s identity and personality in society. Status defines the role, and responsibilities of a person in the community.

It differs from person to person. A person has one or more statuses within society. One is based on traditions, and the other on modern culture.

Ascribed status is a status described in the traditional culture. It is the status of a person from his birth. The ascribed status will not change until the end of life and thereafter.

The status includes gender, religion, race, caste, and position in the family. It is inherited from the family.

In the olden days, ascribed status was given more importance than achieved status when making alliances. People are known and differentiated by their ascribed status.

Even today, in some countries, ascribed status is measured to give opportunities in the industrial society, such as men preferred over women.

A person has no control over his ascribed status and has to accept it to move. Ascribed status is improved values and fulfils the traditions.

This status matters a lot more in personal life than in professional. It helps to feel, understand, and satisfy the emotions and sentiments within and in society.

What is Achieved Status?

Achieved status is a status achieved by the individual through hard work and dedication. Achieved status is given more importance in this modern society where gender, religion, and caste are just words.

A person earns achieved status with is skills, education, and experiences. A person sets a professional goal and achieves it with his dedication.

The achieved status also sets the roles and responsibilities of a person within society. Society expects behaviour and attitude from a person according to his achieved and ascribed statuses.

Achieved status changes with the improvement in professional experiences.

In this modern era, Achieved status is given more importance than ascribed status for making alliances. Men and women are given equal opportunities and respect in society.

Achieved status increases self-confidence within a person.  A person has to fulfil certain requirements like qualifications and expertise to achieve his desired profession.

The achieved status also contributes to making personal lives better. A person has complete control over his achieved status. He can improve it or make it worse with his behaviour and attitude. 

It helps to change superstitious beliefs and contribute to the welfare of traditional society. Achieved status requires a person to behave well within society to maintain his status.

Main Differences Between Ascribed and Achieved Status

  1. Ascribed Status is a status given by society at birth, while Achieved status is a status obtained by a person with his education and skills.
  2. Ascribed status is easily obtained, while achieved status requires effort and commitment.
  3. Ascribed status helps to build a personal relationship, and achieved status helps to grow professional links.
  4. Ascribed status does not change with the change in achieved status, while achieved status changes over time.
  5. A person has no control over ascribed status but has control over achieved status.
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