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Social class study reveals Britain's 'distinctive elite'

A new study into social class has found a "distinctive elite" group of people in the UK, according to one of the researchers involved in the work.

6% of the population, who are classed as "elite", have savings of more than £40,000, extensive social contacts and education at top universities.

It is striking that we have been able to discern a distinctive elite, whose sheer economic advantage sets it apart from other classes.

At the opposite extreme, we have discerned the existence of a sizeable group - 15% of the population - which is marked by the lack of any significant amount of economic, cultural or social capital.

The recognition of the existence of this group, along with the elite, is a powerful reminder that our conventional approaches to class have hindered our recognition of these two extremes, which occupy a very distinctive place in British society.

– Professor Mike Savage, of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Britain separated in new social class study

A major study has found that Britain no longer fits in to just three social classes.

New findings suggest people are now divided into seven different classes based on economic, social and cultural measures.

Here are each of the seven different classes:

  • Elite - This is the most privileged class in the UK who have the highest levels of income, savings and house values.
  • Established middle class - The second wealthiest and largest group of people in the UK fall into this category, accounting for people who score high on all three capitals.
  • Technical middle class - A small, prosperous new class group which scores low for social and cultural capital.
  • New affluent workers - A young group which is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital.
  • Traditional working class - People who score low on capital but are not "completely deprived".
  • Emergent service workers - A new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital.
  • Precariat - The poorest, most deprived class in UK.


British people divided by 'seven social classes'

A new study suggests British people are divided by as many as seven social classes. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The British public no longer fit in to just three social classes, a major new study has discovered.

Instead the findings suggest people are now divided into seven different classes based on economic, social and cultural measures.

More than 160,000 people took part in the Great British Class Survey, the largest of its kind in the UK, according to the BBC.

The results prompted researchers to dismiss the established upper class, middle class and working class system, traditionally defined by occupation, wealth and education, as "too simplistic".

The new classes range from the privileged 'elite' to the deprived 'precariat', assessing income, savings, house value and social capital - the number and status of people that someone knows.