Britons more likely to think they are working class than people in other countries, research says
Britons are much more likely to say they are working class than the average for citizens of industrialised countries around the world, new research shows.
The British Sociological Association's annual conference in Birmingham was told today [Friday 8 April 2016] that 40% of Britons thought of themselves as working class, compared with an average of 27% in 27 industrialised countries.
Edward Haddon found that generally Britons' view of their social class was accurate, although some highly educated people from working class background regarded themselves as middle class.
Mr Haddon, of the University of British Columbia, Canada, told the conference that he analysed survey response from around 27,000 people in 40 countries, almost 1,000 of them British. The other countries included the US, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, and countries in Europe and South America.
Overall, 27% said they were working class, 17% lower middle class, 41% middle class and 8% upper middle. In Britain 40% said they were working class, 18% lower middle class, 35% middle and 4% upper middle.
Mr Haddon found that the proportion of those saying they were working class in Britain had fallen from 46% in 1987 to 40% in 2009, the year the data he worked on were collected. In that time, the proportion saying they were middle class rose from 27% to 35%.
However, he found that a strong factor behind the increase in the proportion of people regarding themselves as middle class was that working class people were achieving a higher of education. This influenced their belief about what class they were in, even though they were came from a working class background and were in working class jobs.