Middle class isn't a monolith. The middle class comprise of THREE levels: lower, middle, & upper levels? How would one describe the THREE levels of middle class?
gm, the new middle class is the one left surviving.
Survival is the new Success.
It sure doest have to look like the above photo.
That's an easy one ...
Lower - Middle - Upper.
(sorry grace, but you left that door open and the Devil on my shoulder just couldn't resist. ;-))
How I define Middle Class, three levels:
1) Those who can afford a modest home, transportation, and basic qualities of life without support of the government. Either through salary, business, pension, inheritance, or some mix of these things combined.
2) Those that can afford the above, and in addition put money aside into 401Ks, investments, vacations, sports, etc.. More income than they need to pay for their dwelling and a moderate lifestyle.
3) Those who are very well off, have multiple dwellings in more than one state, regularly travel the country/world, are not tied to a paycheck to paycheck living in any way. People who make more from their business and investment ventures than most make in salary.
The Middle Class means to me, those who can get by without government support, and have the means with which to take care of themselves.
The rich are those that have so much money, they know how to invest their money so that it continues to multiply, and at the same time, are able to avoid paying all taxes, while often getting the government to pay for much of their expenses.
Great answer, Ken. Thank you for responding.
Class definition here in the U.K. seems to be different from in the US inasmuch as here the definition is socio/economic and there is less class mobility.
Unless a person has been born into the upper middle class s/he will never be upper middle class, regardless of how much money or status has been accumulated. The upper middle class has inherited wealth and an exclusive social network that is almost impossible to penetrate. These are people who attended the most exclusive private schools and the best universities and have old, well-established connections within their defined group.They are recognisable by their accent, which is native as opposed to acquired, and probably do not need to work in order to live. They are defined by refined understatement.i.e. they are not flashy. The super-rich might gain access to this group but will never be upper middle class. Good examples might be George and Amal Clooney or the Beckhams, who, despite their wealth and access to the higher echelons of society, are not upper middle class because they don’t have the history that would place them in this category.
On the other hand, a person might be impoverished but still be upper middle class because s/he has all of the other characteristics, (family background, education and social connections) that define this group.So, being wealthy is different from being upper middle class.
Middle middle class are highly educated and have usually have well-paid professional occupations. They might have come from lower middle class backgrounds.
Lower middle class are homeowners, or aspire to home ownership, value educational achievement, and may have come from working class backgrounds. They have middle income occupations.
Working class do not have higher level educational,qualifications, work semi skilled or unskilled jobs and may not be homeowners. However, a few manual occupations are highly paid and therefore people who define themselves as working class might earn more than people who define themselves as middle class.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that we have the aristocracy in the U.K. Historically, the aristocracy have been seen as despising the middle classes (bourgeoisie) but respectful of the working classes. I don’t know how true this is - never having encountered an aristocrat
Very different than in America then.
I suppose your 'Upper Middle Class' definition would lend itself not to families that have a long history and position, but those who graduate from specific Universities (IE- Harvard, Yale) of course there are the Rockefeller, Bush, Kennedy families but then, they come from the 'Rich' class, not what I would qualify as middle class.
In general, you are what you make yourself to be in America, regardless of family or University. Trump is one example of this, a self-made family from impoverished to Billionaire and President in 3 generations.
Bill Gates is another, in 3 generations, his parents one a prominent Lawyer the other a Banker. Essentially, he went from upper middle class to filthy stinkin rich.
Yes being born into a rich family means a man like George Bush Jr. can become President... without his dad/family he would have never gotten there. On his own merit/accomplishments, which he had none, until finally going into politics and being supported by all those who supported his father.
Yes, I think you are right. Classification is complicated. We have 'landed gentry' who I suppose would equate to families like the Kennedys. And perhaps I should have classified these as upper class rather than upper middle class. I think, despite protestations to the contrary, England is still a class-ridden society. Which is possibly one of the causes of social disatisfaction. 27 of our 54 Prime Ministers were educated at Oxford University and thirty two had attended our top, very expensive, private schools - Eton, Harrow and Westminster.
Lower middle class: $20,000.000 to $50,000.000 per year
Middle middle class: $50,000. to 100,000.
Upper middle class: $100,000. to 120,000.
What's so deep about that?
It is pretty cut and dry.
You have a job that earns a certain amount of money. You have been wise and you have an education. You have been smart and you have abilities. You have been determined and you have been cooperative with society and "the establishment." You have been artistic and you have been talented. You have been positive and you have been resourceful. You have what it takes to master yourself and your life. You have taken the bull by the horns and you have thought about your retirement and about the education of your children and not in that order. And was there a certain amount of luck involved? or a certain amount of effort?
Maybe here's the question that is so deep:
Luck or Effort?
The lower middle class is comprised of most semi-skilled &/or lower level white collar employees. The lower middle class are THE LEAST educated members of the middle class. Their educational level typically are high school or 2 year college. They are also 1/2 to 1 paycheck from homelessness. They are the ones who are the most fearful of losing their middle class status. They are just one step above the lower classes. The lower middle class in some cases are upper echelon of the working class. This is the middle class who will flounder in the 21st century as their jobs are the most likely to be automated or even eliminated. This middle class will in most likelihood become the new lower class.
The middle middle class or solidly middle class is what comes to mind when the middle class is mentioned. They are mostly white collar professionals in the middle levels. They are college educated for the most part. They imbue typical middle class values such as education, planning/saving for the future, self-improvement, & success. They strive & want better for themselves & their children. They are 1 to 2 paychecks away from homelessness.
The upper middle class are the professionals, specialists, upper managers, & executives. The upper middle class are in the upper levels of their jobs. They have at the minimum a college education, many typically have an advanced level of education such as a Master's or Doctorate. They are upwardly mobile for themselves & instill those virtues in their children. They are the most comfortable socioeconomically. In fact, their skill levels make them the most sought after careerwise. They aren't worried about losing their jobs or being downsized as their skills & educational levels are in demand. They are THE MOST educated & specialized of the middle classes. They are 3-even 5 paychecks away from homelessness. If branded properly, some can become even upper class. This is the middle class who are most likely to prosper, even flourish in the 21st century.
I think you are defining what I consider the Low and Middle only... the Upper Middle Class are not going to come close to being homeless just because they miss a few paychecks.
Upper Middle Class IMO are those with a million dollars or more in assets, be they the home and vehicles, or stocks & pensions, whatever or however to sum up their net worth.
There are over 11 MILLION millionaires in America today, according to a 2018 report from the Spectrem Group. And I would be there are AT LEAST that many that allude their count whose net worth is over a million, mainly because they put their money into Corporations, and off shore accounts that are not taken into account in such a survey.
I think it would be safe to say close to 10% of the American population today falls into that 'millionaire' club and they can survive not having a paycheck or two, or survive without a paycheck at all.
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