Social Sciences

Social classes

Social classes are strata established in each country to classify people or communities based on their economic and social conditions.


Social classes are based on the position that people occupy within the productive activity of a country : workers, entrepreneurs, investors, etc., it is also linked to their level of consumption.

Each of the social classes is located within a pyramid with an established hierarchy . It is possible to descend or ascend in the positions of that pyramid, but sometimes this brings the rejection of the other members of the social class in question. For example, someone from upper class who suddenly becomes lower class, tends to see it as an embarrassment and others too.

Since ancient times there have been conflicts between classes . While some claim rights that claim their conditions, others aspire to continue maintaining their status by increasing their benefits within the socio-productive apparatus. Governments, and their socio-economic policies, may be responsible for “adding” or “discarding” families of one class or another.

Types of social classes

At present we can highlight three large groups. Although in each country there may be a somewhat different classification, these are common in many parts of the world.

Upper class. It is the most powerful class, since they tend to own companies with sufficient national or foreign capital, enjoy good positions within the bureaucracy and exert influence in politics. Landlords, heirs to prominent fortunes, are also included. They can afford to attend the best colleges and have staff at their service.

Middle class. It includes merchants, small businessmen and professionals with high annual salaries. These people can afford certain luxuries, such as traveling abroad or buying items of great value, but they are not constant expenses.

Lower class. It is the working class, who hold minimum wage jobs and can barely afford food and clothing. Some do not own property other than the house where they live, although some cannot buy a home, but live in someone else’s property. They are usually people who are at the service of middle or upper class families.

Neither of these classes maintains a certain limit. The lower class includes both the indigent and people who do not have great luxuries, but whose economic conditions do not seem to improve over time, since they lack academic degrees or capital to invest.

Examples of social classes

Upper class:

  • Millionaires with private jets, yachts and luxury cars.
  • Owners of corporations with several headquarters in the country or even outside of it.
  • Members of associations who have a relevant opinion in the political decisions of the country.

Middle class:

  • Small or medium-sized business owners who maintain a number of employees from 1 to 20.
  • People who do not have food, education or clothing needs as notably as the so-called “poor”.
  • Engineers, doctors, architects, etc., who can pay all their bills and even invest in a business or luxury for their family.

Lower class:

  • Workers in industries or companies of any size.
  • People with few educational opportunities.
  • People with education, but with little ability to improve their status.
  • Marginal communities or in street condition.

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