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The Definitions of Lower, Middle, and Upper Classes


I have been scouring the Internet searching for the definitions of lower, middle, and upper classes, however I discovered that these classes are very ambiguously defined. So, I've decided to better define them.


Basically, my concept of classes is based upon source(s) of income, thus classes are not directly related to quantity of salary.

For instance, lower or working class is defined as people who collect their income from menial jobs and manual labor, as a cashier, farm hand, janitor, etc. Typically, these jobs do not require skills or much education and are consider blue collar jobs, thus these jobs have a low wage.

On the other hand, middle class is defined as people who collect their income from jobs that require skilled education, such as an accountant, lawyer, nurse, engineer, etc. This education is usually attained from specialized classes, typically from colleges, universities, or vocational schools. These jobs typically have a much higher salary but not necessarily.

Finally, upper class is defined as people who collect their income from their investments and assets, thus they do not require having a job. These people include CEOs, doctors, and inheritors.

If you carefully noticed, these three classes do not have any gray areas, however there are people who do not completely fit into any one of these classes. For instance, professional athletes can earn a large amount of money, yet they are either middle or upper class. This is where upper-middle class fits. These are people who earn enough money to save and invest a portion of their income, thus supplementing their income with their investments. However, their assets are enough to completely support them if they stopped working, thus these people be considered upper-middle class who are working to become upper class.

Furthermore, it is not how much a person earns that defines their class. This is because some people require a lot less money to live. There are doctors who spend most or all of their large salaries, thus they can be in high debt despite of their huge incomes. And there are multimillionaire plumbers who spend on only what they truly need who work just to keep busy.

As a result, income is NOT relative to a person class. Instead, it is their source of income that truly defines class.

by Phil for Humanity
on 12/26/2010

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