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.

  1. Upper Class

    A socioeconomic term used to describe individuals who reside ...
  2. Grunt Work

    An expression used to describe thankless and menial work. Grunt ...
  3. White Collar

    A working class that is known for earning high average salaries ...
  4. Blue Collar

    A working-class person historically defined by hourly rates of ...
  5. Misery Index

    A measure of economic well-being for a specified economy, computed ...
  6. Welfare

    A government program which provides financial aid to individuals ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Healthcare Premiums Keep Rising, But Salaries Aren’t

    Learn how college and health insurance costs have skyrocketed while wages have stagnated, and how, given the necessity of these services, consumers are stuck.
  2. Investing Basics

    10 Books Worth Investing In

    Here are 10 financial services books that are informative and useful.
  3. Economics

    The History Of Economic Thought

    Economics is a vital part of every day life. Discover the major players who shaped its development.
  4. Personal Finance

    The History Of Capitalism: From Feudalism To Wall Street

    Find out how the economic system we now use was created.
  5. Economics

    Why Can't Economists Agree?

    There are many reasons why economists can be given the same data and come up with entirely different conclusions.
  6. Personal Finance

    Are We Losing The Middle Class?

    Find out where your income and lifestyle put you compared to the national average.
  7. Home & Auto

    6 Signs That You've Made It To Middle Class

    If you can check off each of these points, you are likely a member of the middle class.
  8. Options & Futures

    Financial Capitalism Opens Doors To Personal Fortune

    The Industrial Revolution introduced a new age of investing and financial self sufficiency.
  9. Personal Finance

    Top Factors Preventing Workers From Being Promoted

    Many employees blame office politics when they fail to get promoted, but they may be sabotaging their own careers with these behaviors.
  10. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Corporate Finance

    Read an in-depth review and comparison of a career in investment banking and a career in corporate finance, with advice about which one to choose.
  1. What emerging markets are best suited for investing in the aerospace sector?

    The two best emerging markets for investing in the aerospace sector are China and India. Both countries have a rapidly expanding ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What country has the richest middle class?

    For decades, the United States boasted the honor of having the richest middle class. However, as of 2015, Canada has the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do you conduct effective social responsibility training?

    One way to provide employees with effective social responsibility training is to base training sessions on resources offered ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why is social responsibility important to a business?

    Social responsibility is important to a business because it demonstrates to both consumers and the media that the company ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How important are business ethics in running a profitable business?

    A number of factors play a part in making a business profitable, including expert management teams, dedicated and productive ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What advice does Howard Schultz offer would-be business moguls?

    Starbucks CEO, billionaire and former sports tycoon Howard Schultz has several pieces of advice for would-be moguls and, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!