NRS social grade

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The NRS social grades are a system of demographic classification used in the United Kingdom. They were originally developed by the National Readership Survey to classify readers, but are now used by many other organisations for wider applications and have become a standard for market research.[1] They were developed over 50 years ago and achieved widespread usage in 20th century Britain. Their definition is now maintained by the Market Research Society.[2]

The distinguishing feature of social grade is that it is based on occupation.

The grades[edit]

The classifications are based on the occupation of the head of the household.[1]

Grade Social class Chief income earner's occupation Frequency in 2008[3]
A upper middle class Higher managerial, administrative or professional 4%
B middle class Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional 23%
C1 lower middle class Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional 29%
C2 skilled working class Skilled manual workers 21%
D working class Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers 15%
E non working Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners, and others who depend on the welfare state for their income 8%

The grades are often grouped into ABC1 and C2DE; these are taken to equate to middle class and working class, respectively. Only around 2% of the UK population is identified as upper class,[4] and this group is not separated by the classification scheme.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wilmshurst, J. & MacKay, A., The Fundamentals of Advertising, (1999)
  2. ^ Occupation groupings: a job dictionary. Market Research Society, London, 2006.
  3. ^ "Social Grade: A Classification Tool" (PDF). Ipsos. Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  4. ^ Glover, Julian (2007-10-20). "Riven by class and no social mobility - Britain in 2007". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 

External links[edit]