UK became more middle class than working class in 2000

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Plazma Inferno!, May 2, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    The year 2000 was when Britain became more middle class than working class, according to social grading data.
    The proportion of households working in non-manual professions (known as ABC1s) was 50.6% at the turn of the millennium. It has since increased further, reaching 54.2% last year.
    The figures compiled by Ipsos Mori from the National Readership Survey show that in 1968, two-thirds of households were in the manual or lower-paid social grade bracket known as C2DEs. But by 2015, the proportion of C2DEs had shrunk to 45.8%.
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  3. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I say old chap, that' jolly good news, what! Spot of trouble though. Who will sort my plumbing, what? Don't want a bunch of Johnny Foreigner coming in, what! Not the thing at all. Well, toodle pip, must fly.
    Plazma Inferno! likes this.
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    This is one reason why the Labour Party has to rethink its raison d'ĂȘtre. But it should be a cause for celebration: it would seem to be a sign we are getting more prosperous.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Not sure about the propsperous sign... we significantly reduced our manufacturing capability during that time and moved into a service-based economy, as seen through the GDP and employment stats for the manufacturing sector since the 1960s.
    It's true that despit the % decline we have in fact grown output steadily since WWII, but it has fallen as a share of the economy. This is the reason that a larger proportion are now in non-manual professions: because there are fewer manual jobs to be had! (as a %).
    Whether we are more propsperous as a nation due to the switch in focus to the service sector is another issue, but the fall in manual labour % does not itself necessarily mean that we are so, although I strongly suspect we are.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yes I see what you mean but I the definition of Middle Class they use, tendentious though it may be, would not apply to groups of impoverished ex-workers forced to stack shelves or wait on tables or in Amazon warehouses, etc. Such people would still fall under working class in this study. It is not measuring a fall in "manual labour", but a fall in "working class" households.

    What I suspect we may have is a phenomenon I have read about before, whereby the upper 80% of the population pulls away from a miserable 20% underclass that is stuck behind. Which is not entirely healthy, even though it does represent an improvement for most people.
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Is the 'social grading data' credible, or does it just reproduce traditional stereotypes?

    Why is it necessary to work in a 'non-manual profession' in order to be middle class? That criterion would seem to permanently eliminate any hopes of technicians ever being middle class, simply by fiat, no matter how skilled and well-paid they are. (Except perhaps for computer software geeks, who despite being technicians, don't get their hands dirty.)

    I would prefer an earnings and purchasing-power criterion. Here in the United States, it seems to be the ability to finance a starter home or to pay rent in a reasonably nice neighborhood. And very significantly for the future of the nation, by those standards the American middle class is currently shrinking.

    I get the impression that in the UK, being 'working class' is an entire subculture that determines how people dress, what they eat and drink, what sports teams they support, what political party they vote for and more. That isn't true to nearly the same degree here in the US. Factory and skilled-trades technical workers in the US tend to blend into and identify with what is probably still the middle class majority in the US. It's just that there are fewer and fewer factory and skilled trades workers, as the nation continues to deindustrialize.
    Last edited: May 3, 2016

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