It is a combination of both. The middle socioeconomic class is the unheralded backbone of industrialized Western societies and cultures. It is in fact a significant percentage of populations in such cultures. However, the middle class is not a socioeconomic and sociocultural monolithic entity. There are graduations of the middle class.
There is the lower middle class whose attitude, consciousness, mindset, & psychology approximate that of the lower classes. People in the lower middle class oftentimes work in blue collar &lower white collar positions. They have lower to moderate education. Their premise & lifestyle are oftentimes brutish & instinctive. Their parenting style is harsher and more punitive; they also stress obedience to their children. They are the ones who inculcate their children to just settle for a job, not a career nor their own businesses. They see education as strictly preparing their children for a job, not stressing nor emphasizing higher education which they deem to be fantastical & unrealistic. They are one step away from the lower classes.
There is the solidly middle class. They embody the quintessential middle class attitude, consciousness, mindset, &psychology. They are often moderately to highly educated. Many have from low level to mid-level professional jobs. They are always striving to make a better life for themselves & their children. They believe in delayed gratification, always planning & strategizing for the future. They believe in the importance of education, especially higher education, for its paramount importance to upward mobility or at least a decent middle class lifestyle.
Then there is the upper middle class.These are the high level professionals, specialists, managers, & low to mid-level executives. They are extremely highly educated. They have some power & influence in their workplace.They believe in the importance of being an independent thinker & a leader.They are also believe in the importance of cultural & intellectual activities. To them, such activities are not extraneous but a natural part of life. They believe in education for enrichment & career preparation. They are also more extreme adherents in the philosophy of upward mobility than their solidly middle class counterparts. As parents, they believe in using constructive, nonpunitive forms of discipline on their children.