Getting Classy in the UK

Montblanc Pen

In this modern world, class structure can be grey. To give it more definition, the BBC has given us some tools. What would you like: Montblanc, Bic, or No. 2?

After a survey of 161,000 Britons, (and with only 39% of the UK population fitting the established definitions of class: working, middle and upper), the BBC has come out with seven categories that fit the population today.

Previously, class was defined by wealth, education and occupation. Now, the BBC suggests, it's based on economic, social and cultural. And you can very easily find out what class you are by answering the questions on their Great British Class Calculator.

The social aspect measures the status of the people you know (are they doctors and solicitors or cleaners and lorry drivers?). Interestingly, in the calculator, if you know anyone other than University Lecturers, your social score goes down. Even if that someone else is a 'Chief Executive'.

The cultural aspect looks at what you do with your free time, and measures emerging and highbrow cultural activities (Facebook vs Stately Homes, Going to the Gym vs Listening to Classical Music).

As for the seven categories, I can't sum them up better than the folks who created them, so I'll just make this one a bit more concise:

Elite – scores highest in all three areas (economic, social and cultural)

Established middle class – scores high in all areas, and second highest in economic and cultural, 25% of the population (the largest of the groups)

Technical middle class – scores high in economic, but low in social and cultural

New affluent workers – a young group that's high in social and cultural, and middling in economic

Traditional working class – scores low in all areas, and has the highest average age (66), 14% of the population

Emergent service workers – an urban group that's high in social and cultural, but low in economic

Precariat – low in all three areas, 15% of the population

I wish we could say I wrote this with a Montblanc (but it was a Macbook).