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Upper Class Definition Salary Example and Other Social Classes

Upper Class Definition Salary Example and Other Social Classes

Upper Class: Definition, Salary, Example, and Other Social Classes

What Is the Upper Class?

Upper class refers to a group of individuals who occupy the highest place and status in society. They are considered the wealthiest, above the working and middle class in the social hierarchy. The upper class has higher levels of disposable income and more control over natural resources. While it is a small percentage of the overall population, it controls a disproportionately large amount of wealth.

Key Takeaways

– Upper class refers to a group of individuals who occupy the highest place and status in society.

– Upper class individuals have higher levels of disposable income and more control over natural resources.

– The upper class is a small percentage of the overall population but controls a disproportionately large amount of wealth.

Understanding Upper Class

Upper class is a socioeconomic term describing those who reside on the highest levels of the social ladder, above the middle and working or lower classes. They have the highest status in society and great wealth and power—politically, economically, and financially.

Members of the upper class have considerable power—politically, economically, and financially.

This class was historically dominated by land-owning nobility and aristocrats who didn’t have to work for a living, instead inheriting money or living off investments. Because this group was primarily composed of large, wealthy families, individuals outside this group were not considered upper class, even if they amassed considerable wealth.

The definition of the upper class has evolved to include a wider range of people. Today, celebrities, politicians, investors, and other wealthy individuals fall into this group. In the United States, those in leadership roles in society are also considered part of the upper class.

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According to a 2018 study by Pew Research Center, 19% of American adults were part of upper-class households. These families earned a median income of $187,872 in 2016, compared to 52% of the middle class and 29% of the lower class. This has resulted in a significant income and power gap between classes.

While the upper class exerts control over economic and political developments, most production and consumption are done by the working and middle classes due to their larger numbers and greater resource requirements.

The Upper Class vs. Other Classes

Income and power separate the upper class from the middle and working or lower classes. The middle class encompasses households between the upper and working or lower class, with parameters varying based on location and other factors. Many middle-class individuals work as professionals, civil servants, and own property.

The working or lower class comprises individuals with low-paying, blue-collar jobs requiring physical labor and limited skill. They earn significantly less and have little power in society.

In frontier or emerging economies, there are often only two classes—the working class (poor) and the upper class (elite). As an economy develops, a middle class emerges, with increased disposable income further advancing the economy.

Within the middle class, a divide occurs, separating the average middle class from the upper-middle class. The upper-middle class consists of resourceful individuals or those with higher levels of education compared to the rest of the middle class. Examples include doctors and lawyers, who earn more than teachers.

In summary, the upper class refers to the wealthiest individuals with high status and control over resources. It is a small percentage of the population but holds a disproportionately large amount of wealth. Income and power differentiate it from the middle and working or lower classes.

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