Social class categories have been around for over a century. Until the late 20th century, the UK government used the Registrar General’s scale (RGSC) to divide the population into five different classes, each of which had two subclasses. According to the RGSC, class was based on occupation and played a big role in the lives of people. In the UK, there were two main social class categories: Social Class Based on Occupation (SCBO) and Socioeconomic Groups (SEGs).
How does social class affect people’s lives?
In many cultures, social class is defined by occupation. While many countries use occupational classifications, some do not. Most governments use occupation as a key indicator to determine social class. This method is popular because it is both objective and quantifiable. It also predicts other characteristics more accurately. In addition, people’s occupations tend to be central aspects of their identities.
Sociological studies have shown that social class categories aren’t as sharply-defined as they were once thought. In reality, social status varies along a continuum. This continuum is characterized by several levels. Social class categories can be viewed as points along this continuum. However, the number of classes hasn’t been fixed, and there are no clearly defined boundaries between them. Earlier scholars of social class broke the status continuum into three main categories, while later ones have broken it down into two main categories: upper and lower classes.
The lower class consists of people who work in manual labor or are poorly educated. Often times, these workers earn less than their middle-class counterparts and don’t have many opportunities for advancement. However, some skilled workers within the working class – known as blue collar workers – are able to earn more than their lower-class counterparts and may have higher earnings than people in the middle class.