The United States is going through quite a bit of upheaval lately when it comes to social change. Americans are always very busy, constantly working, or focusing on entertainment as an escape, so it can be tough to sit down and simply think about the issues that we see on the nightly news. Understanding social issues in America is the first step toward a serious discussion about them. Those serious discussions, among communities and government and even the workplace, can help lead to big changes. 

Top 10 Social Issues in America

There are numerous issues that should be addressed concerning the social issues in America; however, there are some that keep popping to the top of the list whenever the conversation comes up. Here’s a basic rundown of what you need to know to start an intelligent discussion about these social issues.

Health Care

Health care reform has been at the top of the talking points for almost every politician over the last eight years, and with the recent rollout of the Healthcare Marketplace, the discussions are just getting louder. Health care for everyone is a revolutionary concept in the United States, though other countries have been doing it successfully for years. Now we are in the process of moving toward a system that promises everyone can have the care they need, but there are plenty of snags along the way altogether with those who are against the idea. 



Student loan debt has become one of the worst financial nightmares for many, and at the same time, the education they receive is sorely lacking when compared to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is true of every educational system in the nation from preschool to college. Some states are struggling to simply keep schools open as they try to figure out where all the money has gone. From preschool to higher education, we all deserve better and we are all looking to the government for answers that don’t seem to be forthcoming anytime soon. 



The Great Recession really took a heavy toll on the country, leading to serious issues with employment, finances and even government assistance for many families that fell through the proverbial cracks. There are still issues with employment today, as companies try to cut costs and downsize their employee pool, and hard-working and qualified employees find it difficult to get a job in any profession, even those in which they are highly proficient. The problem is getting better, but the slow pace has many frustrated. 


Environment and Climate Change

Today’s world is changing fast, and Mother Nature is at the forefront. With all the massive storms that are becoming more frequent, and the record droughts and floods across the nation, there is no doubt that something has shaken up our natural world. But what can we do about it? Environmental effects must be addressed, including everything from the crumbling infrastructure of bridges and roads to the fact of climate change, and how it is affecting everything from farming to fishing. What individuals can do to help alleviate problems for the environment should also be seriously considered.



America is one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. The rate of obesity has skyrocketed in recent decades and shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, Americans are dealing with the problems that are often related to obesity, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments that put a strain on the healthcare system, not to mention the pocketbooks of those who wind up in the hospital, battling the problems. The prevalence of fast food places, restaurants that serve massive portions and unhealthy foods that cost less than healthy ones only adds to the issue. 


Foreign Relations

The world is changing fast, and the United States seems to be in the middle of every conflict. Today, there is the battle against ISIS and other terrorists as well as issues with many of our allies; for instance, the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel as well as the unrest in Syria. With the Ebola outbreak that threatens to sweep the world, which is added into the humanitarian problems, foreign relations are definitely a must-address issue that is facing our nation today.


Illegal Immigration

Those who cross the border legally are welcome, but those who choose to come across illegally are often stuck in a kind of limbo in which nobody wins. Illegal immigration puts a serious strain on our social services, especially when those immigrants happen to be children who find themselves stuck between two worlds. The political spectrum is blazing with solutions to the problem, from building fences around the country to simply allowing an easier way for those immigrants to come here legally. 


Equality Between Men and Women

It seems like this issue should have been put to rest long ago, but it still comes up and still makes big waves. From women in the workplace making less than men to the problems of men wanting to take time off for parenting but finding that their traditional roles hold them in a place that frustrates them, there are problems on both sides of the gender. Add in the problems with violence against women and the backlash against men, even those who do not deserve it, and you have a discussion just waiting to happen. 


Discrimination and Racism

It seems like this issue should have gotten better, but if anything, it has gotten worse. Racism flares up quite a bit lately, especially in terms of people of color, in what might be anything from simple misunderstandings to true corruption. Places like Ferguson, Missouri and Florida are hotbeds of the problem. Discrimination doesn’t just stop with color, it extends to religious beliefs, such as the backlash against Muslims in the country, as well as sexual preference as seen with numerous incidents of gay and lesbian couples facing social problems and even violence. 


Individual Liberty vs. Government Control

Our freedoms are a hot-button issue these days, especially in regards to two points: the second amendment which allows the right to carry weapons, and the issues of gay marriage and whether it should be allowed. Government control is also a serious sticking point for many, especially in the wake of revelations by Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who made it clear just how invasive government surveillance of everyday citizens has become. Add in the problems of a “do-nothing” congress, and we are seeing political upheaval along every party line. 


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