Social groups


The social groups can be very diverse in nature. Aspects such as age, family situation, educational level, profession, sex, religion, standard of living, origin, sexual preferences can determine the constitution of social groups.

What are social groups?

A social group is a group of individuals that make up a social unit, characterized by sharing common values ​​or activities, ties of greater or lesser degree or a similar social situation . A social group is characterized by the awareness of belonging to it and by the recognition of its existence by other groups.

  • Origin of social groups
  • Classification of social groups
  • Characteristics
  • Importance
  • Examples of social groups

Origin of social groups

Most social groups arise from hybrid formation processes. A group can be built first in an ad hoc way and then grow thanks to the work of a leader , that is, a person who is an expert in leading others. In the same way, there are also groups built on the basis of an individual project, which, even when abandoned by the one who inspired it, allows the convergence of diverse interests.


On the other hand, just as groups can form quickly, they can also transform or even dissolve and disappear just as quickly . It should be noted that some social structures are by nature more durable than others. This is the case of a community or an institution compared to a network or a team.

Classification of social groups

There are several classifications to distinguish social groups. Considering the main functions of these, we could classify them as follows.

Social groups according to their function

  • Family group: its members are linked by blood ties, such as parents, siblings, children, etc. It is important to note that in some contexts, the notion of family encompasses all relatives. Its function is to cover the basic family needs at the emotional and economic level.
  • Educational groups: it is made up of educational institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, etc. Its function consists in the transmission of cultural and scientific knowledge to successive generations. They are of great importance in the development of an individual. It should be noted that the family can also constitute an educational group since it constitutes the environment where an individual receives his first teachings.
  • Economic groups: Their function is to produce and distribute material goods (food, clothing, medicines, hygiene items, etc.) and essential services (transport, electricity, health, etc.) for subsistence.
  • Political groups: they are in charge of the political administration of a country. They must ensure the preservation of public order, the proposition and application of laws, etc. Political parties are a good example of political groups.
  • Recreational groups: their function is to recreate or provide rest to people. Within this category, you can include social clubs or sports clubs.

Primary and secondary groups

Traditionally, primary groups and secondary groups are distinguished in the field of sociology , a classification based on the relationships that exist between members of a group.

  • Primary groups : they are social groups with a limited size, with face-to-face relationships and interactions, more direct and between people who know each other . Primary group relationships are natural, spontaneous, and permanent. This is the case of family and friends.
  • Secondary groups: they are larger than the primary groups and include more functional relationships between the people in the group, they may not even know each other . These groups, also known as associations, are governed by regulations or statutes and are formed by the will of their members.


A social group can be defined by the following factors:

  • Common characteristics: age, gender, social environment, common interests, etc.
  • Common objectives: defense of the rights of a community, evolution of laws and regulations, promotion of an activity, etc.
  • The consciousness of belonging .
  • Direct interactions to a lesser or greater degree , common activities, meetings or virtual links, for example, over the Internet.

In this sense, social groups are distinguished from simple groupings of individuals that do not interact with each other and do not have common characteristics. A waiting line or a group of people associated by statistical categories such as age or sex does not constitute a social group. The social group implies a social relationship between individuals.


The heterogeneous character of a social group is a positive aspect. In effect, this allows its members to share ideas and knowledge which contributes to mutual development and enrichment . In addition, interaction with others who have values ​​similar to their own, not only encourages empathy but also favors learning .

On the other hand, interaction with others is essential for the personal and mental development of an individual.

Examples of social groups


In Mexico , there is an important indigenous population that constitutes a social group that shares common aspects such as culture, history and language. On the other hand, we can mention the example of the indigenous people of the Highlands of Chiapas , who have organized around a religious purpose and have created the Organization of Evangelical Peoples of the Highlands of Chiapas (OPEACH).


As is well known, there is a great presence of Italian culture in Argentina due to the Italian immigration that took place in this country. It is not surprising then that in that country there is a large Italian community that has organized groups such as the Federation of Italian Associations . Among the activities carried out by this group, we can mention the celebration of the traditions and customs of Italy in cultural and social events.


The football is a sport that enjoys enormous popularity in Spain . Thus, sports clubs have been created as free and private associations in order to share the passion and interest in this sport. Such is the case of the Madrid, Sevilla or Barcelona clubs, among others.

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