People in the UK now fit into seven social classes, a major survey conducted by the BBC suggests. It says the traditional categories of working, middle and upper class are outdated, fitting 39% of people.
The BBC Lab UK study measured economic capital – income, savings, house value – and social capital – the number and status of people someone knows. The study also measured cultural capital, defined as the extent and nature of cultural interests and activities. The new classes are defined as:
- Elite - the most privileged group in the UK, distinct from the other six classes through its wealth. This group has the highest levels of all three capitals
- Established middle class - the second wealthiest, scoring highly on all three capitals. The largest and most gregarious group, scoring second highest for cultural capital
- Technical middle class - a small, distinctive new class group which is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. Distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy
- New affluent workers - a young class group which is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital
- Traditional working class - scores low on all forms of capital, but is not completely deprived. Its members have reasonably high house values, explained by this group having the oldest average age at 66
- Emergent service workers - a new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital
- Precariat, or precarious proletariat - the poorest, most deprived class, scoring low for social and cultural capital
Professor of sociology at Manchester University, Fiona Devine, said the survey really gave a sense of class in 21st Century Britain.
“What it allows us is to understand is a more sophisticated, nuanced picture of what class is like now… It’s what’s in the middle which is really interesting and exciting, there’s a much more fuzzy area between the traditional working class and traditional middle class,” she said.
Which social class do you fall into? Do you agree with these classifications?
Source: BBC News
Image: Audio Boo