Percent describing themselves as “lower class” hits 40-year high

Yipes. Have you seen the General Social Survey responses to the CLASS question lately?

Since 1972, they’ve asked,

If you were asked to use one of four names for your social class, which would you say you belong in: the lower class, the working class, the middle class, or the upper class?

The responses have been pretty stable, with close to an even split between working and middle, and tails of 5% or less in upper and lower. But not anymore:

gss-classIt might not look that dramatic. But let me zoom in on that red line for you:

gss-lower-class

 

I’m sure some of you (like those who have written books on this question) will be able to explain this beyond: wow, this recession made more people poor. The official poverty rate today is about where it was back when “lower class” was at 4%.

 

10 Comments

Filed under In the news

10 responses to “Percent describing themselves as “lower class” hits 40-year high

  1. How much of class identification is driven by advertisement-driven expectations of material prosperity?.

    Like

  2. That’s sad. I’ve never used the term ‘lower class’, I would say ‘working class’ – but maybe it just means the same thing! I think people are more hopeless than they once were. I don’t know about ‘material prosperity’ but I expect to never own property, a car or be able to retire – guess maybe that makes me lower class too?

    Like

    • ‘lower class’, I would say ‘working class’ – but maybe it just means the same thing!

      No, it doesn’t by a long shot.

      guess maybe that makes me lower class too?

      The lower class don’t work as librarians at Lord’s Cricket Ground and go to said cricket games.

      Like

      • Well what is the difference between working class and lower class? That was what I was asking. Is ‘lower-class’ what would once have been call ‘under-class’?
        My job is so much fun and really cool, but it’s very very low paid and I’m kept on short term temporary contracts. Last year my husband was out of work for nearly a whole year, before I was working at Lord’s I was working 2 part-time jobs but still couldn’t get enough hours to add up to a full time role. Things are better now, my husband is working full-time and so am I – but during our bad year we spent all our savings just trying to get by. I’m now desperately looking for better paid more secure work so we can get our heads properly above water.
        So what class am I? You tell me. I’m genuinely confused. You think my job elevates me above the lower class but I can still barely pay my rent and feel pretty bleak about my financial future.

        Like

      • Well what is the difference between working class and lower class?</i?

        Amount of work? Attitudes about work? Value of education?

        Some American sociologists, at least, toss "lower class" and have the categories of "working poor" and "underclass" instead. There's certainly not a fine, bright line at the boundary between the two, but, like porn, you usually know it when you see it.

        Like

        • Oh.
          Your ‘No, it doesn’t by a long shot’ suggested it wasn’t such a fine line. And your firm decision that I’m not lower class (based on reading my blog I guess) made me think perhaps you had some insightful knowledge. I guess not.

          Like

  3. If one parent has care, the noncustodial parent’s share is normally paid to the custodial parent, or by both parents to a third revelry, if a third party has care.

    Like

  4. Pingback: Survey says: U.S. marriages are getting happier | Family Inequality

  5. Pingback: Syllabus supplements for fall family sociology | Family Inequality

Comments welcome (may be moderated)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s