What Is a Marginalized Population?

A marginalized population is a group of people that is excluded from full participation in society. According to the research institute GSDRC, marginalization includes the withholding of political rights, economic opportunity and social integration.

Populations can suffer marginalization on both the political level and the more informal social level. Politically sanctioned modes of marginalization include prohibiting a certain group from voting or holding public office. Blacks in the United States and Jews in Germany are two of the most famous examples of marginalized populations. In both of these cases, the power of government was used to legitimize the social exclusion.

Marginalization can also take the form of social ostracism. This can affect the livelihood of marginalized populations when the ostracism results in restricted work and educational opportunities.