Middle Class

DEFINITION of 'Middle Class'

Individuals who fall between the working class and the upper class within a societal hierarchy. In Western cultures, persons in the middle class tend to have a higher proportion of college degrees than those in the working class, have more income available for consumption and may own property. Those in the middle class often are employed as professionals, managers and civil servants.

BREAKING DOWN 'Middle Class'

The word "middle" may be misleading in that it suggests that those in the middle class have earnings within the middle of the population's income distribution, which may not be the case.


Karl Marx referred to the middle class as part of the bourgeoisie when he described capitalism. The term itself has shifted in meaning over time, having once referred to persons who had the means to rival nobles.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Upper Class

    A socioeconomic term used to describe individuals who reside ...
  2. Multiple Capital Structure

    The classification of a company's stock and bond offerings into ...
  3. Share Class

    A designation applied to a specified type of security such as ...
  4. Class Of Shares

    1. Types of listed company stock that are differentiated by the ...
  5. Classified Shares

    The separation of company equity into more than one class of ...
  6. Class B Shares

    A classification of common stock that may be accompanied by more ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    China's Middle Class: An Inside Look

    Discover the catalysts for China's improving middle class population, from global demands of its consumer goods to unoccupied real estate.
  2. Markets

    Why the American Middle Class is Shrinking

    Discover why the American middle class is shrinking and why that is probably good thing, although the Fed might be funneling growth to the ultra-wealthy.
  3. Investing

    What are Class B Shares?

    Class B shares are one classification of common stock issued by corporations.
  4. ETFs & Mutual Funds

    Which Fund Share Class is Best for Retirement?

    Mutual funds are a popular investment for retirement. Here's how to choose the best share class when investing in them.
  5. Investing

    What is the Importance of a Share's Class?

    The meaning of share classes varies, depending on the investment vehicle.
  6. Markets

    Is the U.S. Economy Really Improving?

    The U.S. economy might be improving for some, but not for the majority. Here's why.
  7. Markets

    What is an Asset Class?

    A group of securities that exhibit similar characteristics, behave similarly in the marketplace, and are subject to the same laws and regulations.
  8. Markets

    The Decline of the Middle Class: An Inside Look

    Find out what is behind the decline of the middle class in America and how the hourglass economy may effect consumption.
  9. ETFs & Mutual Funds

    The ABCs of Mutual Fund Classes

    There are three main mutual fund classes, and each charges fees in a different way.
  10. Managing Wealth

    What's Behind So Many Mutual Fund Share Classes?

    Despite the confusion they create, the number of share classes offered by mutual fund families will most likely continue to grow. Here's why.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What country has the richest middle class?

    Learn which country has the richest middle class in the world, as well as the factors that have enabled the middle class ... Read Answer >>
  2. Which class (class A, B, C) shares should I purchase if my time horizon is long term, ...

  3. What is the difference between Berkshire Hathaway's Class A and Class B shares?

    Learn why Warren Buffet created Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares and discover the main differences between Class A and Class ... Read Answer >>
  4. Is the upfront cost of Class A mutual fund shares worth it?

    Learn about the differences between mutual fund share classes, and discover under what circumstances the Class A shares make ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between Class A shares and other common shares of company's ...

    Discover how a company can break down its common stock into multiple classes and how these classes differ from one another ... Read Answer >>
  6. Is there a time frame where B and C shares do not have back end fees? And do you ...

Hot Definitions
  1. Frexit

    Frexit – short for "French exit" – is a French spinoff of the term Brexit, which emerged when the United Kingdom voted to ...
  2. AAA

    The highest possible rating assigned to the bonds of an issuer by credit rating agencies. An issuer that is rated AAA has ...
  3. GBP

    The abbreviation for the British pound sterling, the official currency of the United Kingdom, the British Overseas Territories ...
  4. Diversification

    A risk management technique that mixes a wide variety of investments within a portfolio. The rationale behind this technique ...
  5. European Union - EU

    A group of European countries that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official ...
  6. Sell-Off

    The rapid selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the ...
Trading Center