A second-class citizen is a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and socioeconomic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. However, they are different from "less-than-whole citizens", as second-class citizens are often disregarded by the law or have it used to harass them (see police misconduct and racial profiling). Systems with de facto second-class citizenry are generally regarded as violating human rights.
Typical conditions facing second-class citizens include but are not limited to:disenfranchisement (a lack or loss of voting rights) limitations on civil or military service (not including conscription in every case) restrictions on language, religion, education lack of freedom of movement and association limitations on weapons ownership restrictions on marriage restrictions on gender identity and expression restrictions on housing restrictions on property ownership
The category is normally unofficial and mostly academic, and the term itself is generally used as a pejorative and governments will typically deny the existence of a second class within the polity. As an informal category, second-class citizenship is not objectively measured; however, cases such as the American South under segregation, aborigines in Australia prior to 1967, apartheid in South Africa, women in Saudi Arabia under Saudi law, Dalits in India and Nepal, and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland during the parliamentary era are all examples of groups that have been historically described as having second-class citizenry. Historically, before the mid-20th century, this policy was applied by some European Colonial Empires on colonial residents of overseas holdings.
A resident alien or foreign national, and children in general, fit most definitions of second-class citizen. This does not mean that they do not have any legal protections, nor do they lack acceptance by the local population. A naturalized citizen carries essentially the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen (a possible exception being ineligibility for certain public offices), and is also legally protected.