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.

BREAKING DOWN 'Upper Class'

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.

RELATED TERMS
  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 ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Warren Buffett: The Road To Riches

    Find out how he went from selling soft drinks to buying up companies and making billions of dollars.
  2. Economics

    The Gini Index: Measuring Income Distribution

    A country with $100 billion in assets and four residents sounds good - unless three of them have $0.
  3. Options & Futures

    3 Simple Steps To Building Wealth

    Getting richer is easier if you take it one step at a time.
  4. Savings

    Retiring: Is $1 Million Enough?

    Find out why this magic number has lost some of its lustre as a retirement savings target.
  5. Options & Futures

    Reining In CEO Rewards

    Could bloated CEO compensation be to blame for the widening gap between the rich and the ultra-rich?
  6. Options & Futures

    10 Steps To Retire A Millionaire

    Making this dream come true takes work, but it's well worth the effort.
  7. Investing News

    How Much is Donald Trump Really Worth?

    How much is Donald Trump really worth (and does it matter)?
  8. Investing News

    Is the Airline Industry Becoming a Cartel?

    Learn how U.S. airlines are facing an antitrust investigation into charges of collusion in the face of falling fuel prices as they continue to raise airfare.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    How to Calculate Your Tangible Net Worth

    Your net worth can be calculated with a simple equation.
  10. Term

    What's Affluenza?

    Affluenza​ is a social condition that stems from the desire to be more wealthy or successful.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Under what circumstances would I benefit from a high net worth insurance policy?

    Understand what a high-net-worth insurance policy is and learn some of the factors that may make it appropriate for high-net-worth ... Read Answer >>
  2. Under what circumstances would I require private wealth management?

    Learn why many high-net-worth individuals may prefer private wealth management services, and understand how these firms charge ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is private wealth management?

    Understand what private wealth management is from the perspective of both the private client as well as the private wealth ... Read Answer >>
  4. Which US cities have the highest number of high-income households?

    Learn which U.S. cities have the highest number of high-income households and why they were able to attract such a large ... Read Answer >>
  5. When is litigation better than mediation in a high net worth divorce case?

    Learn the variables in a divorce case that most often determine whether mediation or litigation is a better path for the ... Read Answer >>
  6. Why are fee-based accounts preferred by many high net worth individuals (HNWI)?

    Learn why many high-net-worth individuals prefer fee-based financial advisers, and learn how commission based advisers may ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
  2. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications ...

    A member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions for its members. Established in 1973, the ...
  3. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles - GAAP

    The common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that companies use to compile their financial statements. ...
  4. DuPont Analysis

    A method of performance measurement that was started by the DuPont Corporation in the 1920s. With this method, assets are ...
  5. Call Option

    An agreement that gives an investor the right (but not the obligation) to buy a stock, bond, commodity, or other instrument ...
  6. Economies Of Scale

    Economies of scale is the cost advantage that arises with increased output of a product. Economies of scale arise because ...
Trading Center