What Are Social Problems?

A social problem is any issue that a group of people sees as being undesirable for the entire community. The group of people who identify and name the problem do not necessarily have to constitute all or even a majority of the entire community, only a significant number out of the whole population. Sometimes this leads to conflict between groups.

Social problems refer to a large group of issues that community members may feel negatively affects a certain population. An issue that affects only one individual is not a social problem. An issue that occurs only once is a social problem. For example, if a young person has a party and plays loud music, a sleepy neighbor cannot claim that this incident is a social problem. However, the incident may reflect what many community members identify as a social problem. The loud music played at the party reflects the lack of respect for elders among younger people, evident in the loud music late at night. Some social problems are identified by the whole population, like crime and war. Social problems must be identified by their geographic location and boundaries, a particular offending person or group, and an identifiable, injurious problem.