Copyright

Quaternary Industry: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Economic Systems: Definition, Types & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 The Division of Industry
  • 1:06 Quaternary Industry
  • 2:37 Employment Structures
  • 3:54 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Different people have different jobs, but what does this mean to the national economy? In this lesson, we examine quaternary industries and see how they fit into larger economies.

The Division of Industry

Imagine that you grow trees for a living. Congratulations, you are contributing to the national industry and the economy! Now imagine that your job is to turn those trees into paper. You're still part of the national industry and economy, but in a different way. Traditionally, scholars assumed that industries could be divided into three main sectors. Primary industries produced raw materials, like trees. Secondary sectors were responsible for the manufacturing, assembly, and production of finished products. These would be the people who turn trees into paper. Tertiary industries included the service industries.

For most of history, these were the assumed industrial sectors. However, economies change. In the last few decades, a whole new economy has developed around new technologies and a class of educated people who rely on their minds more than anything else to contribute to national industries. So, scholars have added a fourth industrial sector: the quaternary.

Quaternary Industry

At its most basic, a quaternary industry is one that is based on new technologies and that requires a high degree of education. In this field, people are not relying directly on their abilities to collect raw materials or turn them into a product; instead, they are relying on their education and intelligence to generate and operate advanced technologies.

Most of the quaternary industries in the United States are those involving computer and information technologies. Programmers, IT specialists, technology developers, information sharing experts, and even professional bloggers are part of the national quaternary industry. This sector would also include digital stockbrokers, financial planners, designers, and educators. For example, Study.com is an education resource, but one built around utilizing digital communications technologies. So, it is also one of the quaternary industries.

The quaternary sector of the economy is relatively young, since it requires both a highly educated population and advanced technologies. Even in the United States, where access to education has been historically high, a college education was not really a widespread expectation until after World War II. Since then, however, nations like the United States have developed highly educated populations that rely on their educated status to maintain a certain economic position in that society. The advent of the digital era of computer technologies provided this educated class with a near-constant source of employment, and thus, the quaternary sector of the economy was born.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support