Working class (or Labouring class) is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs (as measured by skill, education and lower incomes), often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes. Working classes are mainly found in industrialized economies and in urban areas of non-industrialized economies.
The term is usually contrasted with the upper class and middle class, in terms of access to economic resources, education and cultural interests. Its usage can be derogatory, but many people self-identify as working class and experience a sense of pride similar to a national identity.
According to a survey of social attitudes, 57% of adults in the UK claim to be working class. But what is that in today's society?
It is not uncommon for people to put themselves in a class category that an official observer might not, says sociologist Wendy Bottero. This is because people define class by many things, like
status and social origins, not just jobs and education.
"Culturally this country still is predominantly working class," he says. "Superficially it seems we are middle class because we have more of the trappings of middle class life, but the majority of people are just working class with more money, not middle class."