Does the district you live in determining your social class?

Did you ever think that the location of your residence would determine your social status? Over recent years, several people have started to assume the social class of different people, based solely on their home district and their daily activities including fitness and sports. Some of the younger people are stressing the importance of residing in a strategic area in the Kingdom. However, several of the Saudis consider this as a materialistic and simplistic factor and they believe that the neighborhood that an individual resides in, does not define their social class in any way.[irp]

A public-sector employee in her 20s, Tahani Kokandi stated that people assume everybody who lives in the Al Shati district in Jeddah has a high standard of living since the area is expensive to live in and the rent prices are higher than usual. However, the stereotyping of the people as being healthy and educated is totally subjective and is most often the total opposite. She stated that choosing a neighborhood to reside in is vital as it should be near most if not all services, along with any other places that are frequented by the individual and/or family such as the workplace, schools etc. A Saudi national female in her 20s stated that some of the people ask her where she lives and then proceeds to judge her according to the location of her residence. She states that she lives in her old family house located in the southern region of Jeddah.

She added that people have also told her to sell the house and relocate; however, she does not plan on moving even though her family is monetarily able to since her ancestral house has many memories in it. Linking social class with residence location is a debated topic. Some believe that this is a newly born trend amongst the youth; however, there are also those who state that this is a common practice which is not new.

A financial analyst in her late 20s, Dina Al-Saadi, stated that there is a social phenomenon amongst all classes of society, especially the upper and upper middle class, or simply those who prefer to show their wealth off. She stated that people with relatively low incomes live in expensive areas to fit in, hence they must borrow money from friends and family or must take out a loan, whereas there are some people with immense wealth, but live in “middle-class districts” and own several other properties around the Kingdom.[irp]

Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, 29, states that people should only be judged on their manners and ethics and not upon where their residence is. A Saudi woman working in public relations, Doa Jan, stated that it is foolish to judge people based on where they live. Many well-known rich families of Jeddah live in those districts which are considered “Middle Class”. Hence this stereotyping does not prove anything except that people are either getting increasingly materialistic or have been so since forever.

Source: Saudi Gazette