Well according to research published in the British Sociological Association‘s journal, Sociology – and more widely by the BBC – such class distinctions are nowadays outdated. Instead of the traditional three classes – applicable to only 39% of people in today’s Britain – it is now more appropriate to consider people as being one of seven new social classes. At the top end of the class structure is an ‘elite’ class while at the other end is a ‘precariat‘; a poor, precarious proletariat that accounts for about 15% of the population.
With more than 161,000 people taking part in the research, the findings show that whilst class has traditionally been defined by occupation, wealth and education, in the twenty-first century this is far too simplistic. Today, class has three dimensions: economic, social and cultural which take into account such variables as income, savings and house value as also the number and status of people you know.
If you’re interested in finding out where you sit in this new class structure, you can do so here. As regards myself, despite vehemently referring to myself as ‘working class‘ according to the findings it would be more appropriate to describe myself as a ‘new affluent worker’ (a group that is said to have emerged out of the traditional working classes I hasten to add).
If you’re interested in reading more about this, you can do so via the BBC website by clicking here. Alternatively, I have reproduced the new typology below:
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