10 Social Classes
The Great British Class Survey, published uncomfortably close to April Fool’s Day in 2013, attracted a lot of attention because it found that the days of judging people as being in one of 3 traditional working, middle and upper classes are numbered. The survey instead suggests that the British can now be found in one of 7 social classes.
Basically nothing has changed. You’re either poor or rich. Or in their words, a “precariat” or an “elite” or somewhere in between. And as any inbetweeny will tell you, whatever you want to call the class, if you ain’t rich you ain’t rich, period.
The survey was a collaboration between academics from 6 universities and the BBC. It’s a hefty study; 161,458 people (56% male, 43% female) – of all classes – were interviewed. As you may have guessed, 94% of them were not elite.
The 7 new classes, as per the BBC, are:
Elite: This is the most privileged class in Great Britain who have high levels of all three capitals. Their high amount of economic capital sets them apart from everyone else.
Established Middle Class: Members of this class have high levels of all three capitals although not as high as the Elite. They are a gregarious and culturally engaged class.
Technical Middle Class: This is a new, small class with high economic capital but seem less culturally engaged. They have relatively few social contacts and so are less socially engaged.
New Affluent Workers: This class has medium levels of economic capital and higher levels of cultural and social capital. They are a young and active group.
Emergent Service Workers: This new class has low economic capital but has high levels of ’emerging’ cultural capital and high social capital. This group are young and often found in urban areas.
Traditional Working Class: This class scores low on all forms of the three capitals although they are not the poorest group. The average age of this class is older than the others.
Precariat: This is the most deprived class of all with low levels of economic, cultural and social capital. The everyday lives of members of this class are precarious.
If you’re British, hopefully you’re not part of the 15% of the precariat (precarious proletariat) but if you are, you might want to consider joining Occupy’s movement against precarity.
A very interesting – and perhaps rather disturbing – fact from the survey is that the average age of the 6% elite and 15% precariat are more-or-less the same: 57 vs 50. Somewhere along those 50 years the one group chose to ignore the other.
10 Social Classes
We suggest that, for all the world, there are 10 social classes.
In order –
Elite: You have a nice house and nice car and you don’t owe the bank anything on either.
Upper Middle Class: You have the house and the car but they belong to the bank.
Geek Class: You have relatively few social contacts but you have access to venture capital.
Affluent Worker: All your stuff belong to the bank but you mostly manage to meet the payments.
Service Worker: You’re young, urban, pissed off and either still live with your parents or share a small apartment with 5 other service workers.
Traditional Worker: You’re older and pissed off. Your Service Worker Class children still live with you and is costing you and arm and a leg – or three kegs of beer per month.
Precariat: Money doesn’t matter to you. Neither does the class system. You are.
Wannabe: You’re older and you make promises you do not keep. You sincerely believe that anyone who does not agree with you owns weapons of mass destruction. You rob the poor and admire the rich. You’re a politician. You have no class.
Socially Useless: You’re a banker.
Which class are you? For the 7 class system, take the test. For the 10 class system, you know your place.