Upper Class


DEFINITION of 'Upper Class'

A socioeconomic term used to describe individuals who reside above both the working class and middle class of a social hierarchy. Individuals in the upper class have higher levels of disposable income, greater say in the political realm and exert more control over the use of natural resources. While the upper class makes up a small percentage of the overall population, it controls a disproportionately large amount of the overall wealth.


From a historical perspective, the upper class was dominated by land-owning nobility and aristocrats. Over the years the term has expanded to include celebrities, politicians, investors and other wealthy people.

While those in the upper class ("the rich") do exert significant control over economic and political developments, most production activities and consumption is done by the working and middle classes.

  1. Middle Class

    Individuals who fall between the working class and the upper ...
  2. Working Class

    A socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class ...
  3. Income Inequality

    The unequal distribution of household or individual income across ...
  4. Poverty Gap

    The average shortfall of the total population from the poverty ...
  5. Net Worth

    The amount by which assets exceed liabilities. Net worth is a ...
  6. The Wealth Effect

    The premise that when the value of stock portfolios rises due ...
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