Talk:Upper middle class/Archive 1

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high 5 figures[edit]

would 90 thousand a year be considered upper middle class or middle middle class? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 198.7.249.145 (talk) 14:02, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

Well that depends. If two people need to work together full-time to earn $90,000, probably middle-middle. If one person alone earns $90k, upper middle. But please also consider that there is more to being upper middle class than income. The upper middle class consists of white collar professionals (including management) who hold advanced degrees. A Ph.D. in economics, making $77,000 as an Associate Professor would definitely be upper middle class, yet two dental hygenists who both combined earn $85,000 a year may not be. If you want to see where you stand in terms of income see my two articles regarding Income in the United States. Regards, SignaturebrendelHAPPY HOLIDAYS 19:31, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

if 2 people retired make 90 thousand, would it be upper middle class?198.7.249.145 17:17, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

From an economic viewpoint, yes. SignaturebrendelHAPPY HOLIDAYS 18:21, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Income debate[edit]

I don't know any university professors that make six figure salaries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.105.124.19 (talkcontribs)

Some administration staff have higher income, eg. this university president makes up to $400k CAD or about $350k USD. Shawnc 20:51, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

It seems there's a difference between "economic" upper-middle class and "cultural" upper-middle class. University professors might generally belong to the latter, but not the former. —Ashley Y 21:23, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

You don't know any six figure professors? Take a nice stroll in the business, engineering, medicine, or law faculty and chat up a tenured professor. You usually have to pay these people six figures for them to stick around. rasblue 02:11, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Or the economics departement (which is actually a social science and not business, despite common perception) ;-) Signaturebrendel 02:59, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
How could I forget the economics department! Maybe when you are immersed in the economics field (like me) you forget that some people actually become wealthy doing the "perma-book-tour-on-fox news" or the "lobbyist/think tank" thing. rasblue 03:11, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
You actually do not need a six figure salary to be in the upper-middle class. Also watch the term salary. There are college professors who have smartly invested parts of their incomes and whose investments now yield significant capital gains income. This captial gains income combined with an income of roughly $80k could exceed $100k a year. Also, household icome is taken into consideration, 2 college professors, each making $80k, togehter generate a household income of $160k. Net Worth also needs to be considered. But as I mentioned all that is needed to enter the upper-middle class according to most institutions is $65k+ income and a $250k+ net worth. Both can easly found in the housholds of many post-secondary educators. Please remember that a $200k+ lawyer is upper-class, not upper-middle class. Thanks. Regards, Signaturebrendel 04:34, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
$200,000 to be upper-class? I really think these "class/salary indices" need to be linked to inflation. I personally know electricians and plumbers who run small businesses, but still personally work in the trade, who make close to or above $200,000 a year and they are definitely not upper class. rasblue 05:38, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

The classic mistake is being made here of conflating social class with income. Upper-middle income starts around $60k per year ($80-100k in NYC/SF/Boston/Chi) but that is not sufficient (or, strictly speaking, necessary) for upper-middle class status. Education and occupation plays an enormous role; for example, it's pretty easy to get into the upper-middle income group via real estate, but it's difficult to get into the upper-middle class without a respected college degree.

Also, for someone of middle age, $250k is not very much. On the other hand, in one's 20s, even half that is quite wealthy (usu. a trust fund, because very few 20-somethings have earned enough money or invested well-enough to get up to six digits by their own power). So age also has to be considered. Czar Dragon 20:20, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, age does play a role in the wealth, though it has to be considered that a far greater number of middle aged individuals are upper-middle class than people in their 20s. Very few young people for that matter are upper-middle class; most of thos who are, are because of their parent's wealth. Also, yes class is a combination of education and income; thus a collage professor making $80k a year w/ $400k net worth would be upper-middle class. I just wanted to clarify that a six-figure salary does not mean upper-middle class. Signaturebrendel 07:21, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Another wrinkle in the definition given lies in the deceptive term "household." It seems that a single person with a 40K income and 125K net worth would be considered "middle class," yet would somehow become "upper middle class" if she/he forms a household with someone of the same standing. To make matters more complicated, their household would continue to be considered "upper middle class" regardless of how many children they have, despite the fact that the single householder previously mentioned would have more discretionary income and more personal wealth. (Submitted by RJM)

And another note: Even 80K is high for most college professors. The average range is something like 55K-70K. (RJM)

It depends on what you mean by "professor". Salaries for full professors are on average $91,548. But if you mean "professor" as in full-time faculty at universities, then the average is $68,505 in the US, which is still above the 65K threshold. But this includes assistant profs, associate profs and full profs. (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm) (Mch)

Yes, $68K is above the $65K threshold, but not by much. Most of the professors qualifying as "upper middle class" in this way are primarily from professional fields (law, medicine, engineering), research universities, and high-priced bicoastal locations. Most of the profs not qualifying include those from less lucrative fields (arts, humanities, education, etc.), comprehensive and community colleges, and locations such as the Midwest and South. Ultimately, given the 65K mark, about 40-45% of all full-time college profs would not qualify as upper-middle on their own, even if they may be perceived as such within their respective communities. (RJM)

Yes, the term households does make things difficult. A houshold with five children in which both parents combined earn $90k would be upper-middle class, while a single parent houshold with one child in which the parents earns $50k be classified as middle-class. Who has really the higher standard of living. The ladder can afford to spoil his/her child more than the former, will have more square feet in his/her home per person as he or she will have $45k for each person in her/his household, whereas the large family with $90k, only has c.a. $13k per person. Also, yes the salary for college professors does vary with their rank (assistant, associate, full proffesor) but $68k is upper-middle. A middle-class occupation would be police officers with $46k or registered nurses which according to the Departement of Labor have a median annual income of $52k. Of course one also has to consider education and prestige which boost class; class is more than merely income and net worth; often the education and prestige will boost professors at universities into the upper-middle class. For community college professors the standing would be middle-class since they tend to not have PhDs and lower prestige. Thank you for your input. Regards, Signaturebrendel 06:12, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

Hi guys, I am quite new so please forgive any poor etiquette :) Could anyone give more details as to where the the quote "whose income exceeds $65k a year and whose net worth exceeds $250k" comes from? This seems very low and is one to understand that socially, America is stratified moreso by wealth than anything else?

I will add to the UK definition of UMC perhaps with reference to RP and other idiosyncracies but overall it seems a true reflection. Phil

That's actually almost common knowledge, I think just googeling upper middle class might show you several sites where you see that threshold. The $65k a year does seem a little low, then again the median for America is only $48k. For the $250k, keep in mind that it is net worth. That means all you're worth minus all you owe (many people think the value of their home is their net worth... not true). Yes, America is mosr stratified by wealth than anything else. Any more questions please let me know. Thanks. Signaturebrendel 16:25, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Ambiguous Chart[edit]

The class chart is a bit ambiguous. The first column is an attempt to quantify prestige. The second column appears to be education. The third column, I assume, represents income, but is that individual or household? The far right column represents....net worth?? What levels of "class" do the colors represent?

I must say that this chart is misleading. A BA degree does not equate to upper class. A school Teacher must have a BA/BS degree, but this does not make him/her upper class. In some states, school-teacher salaries start around $25,000 and may not exceed $55,000 (after 30 years experience). I'm sure there any many other examples.

I think this chart should be removed. Any Discussion?

68.187.192.107 17:10, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Since this graph provides an illustration of a particular definition or view of class, based on the US census and published by the NY Times, I think it should stay until something better comes along. The methodology and reference should of course be elaborated. -- zzuuzz (talk) 17:44, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, the chart represents prestige of occupation, Household income (according to the 2000 Census), Net Worth (according to the 2003 Economic Survey), and the colors represent the quintiles. The New York Times uses a similar graph (actually its the exact same to define class. According to the NY Times each quintile is a class (i.e. 5th = Upper Class, 4th = Upper Middle Class, etc...). No a BA does not make one upper class, class is a combination of all four columns. Scoring high on one does not mean you autmotically in that class. Also a person with a BA who is making $55k a year is higher up in the social hirachy than a person making the same with no BA. The bottom line is that class is made up of all four, occupational prestige, education, income, and net worth. Thank you. Regards, Signaturebrendel 01:17, 11 May 2006 (UTC)


Physicians and Lawyers[edit]

"It should be noted though that many successful executives, Physician, Lawyer, and Business Owners are actually part of the lower upper class rather than the upper middle class"

I think this is an unnecessary statement, in my opinion. One can make the same statement about famous architects, prominent professors, or any other member of the upper-middle class. Every sociology textbook I have read has always included physicians and lawyers solely in the upper-middle class. Of course it is understood that this is a general statement and that exceptions do occur. But remember that the lower-upper class is most commonly characterized as a class that is as wealthy as the upper-upper-class, but has earned it in their lifetime rather than having the wealth passed down to them i.e. "new money" vs "old money". Therefore it is a class commonly attributed to celebrities, professional athletes and executives of large corporations rather than professionals.

btw the 65k thing 'seems' appropriate to me, but we need it sourced

Yes, many, many executives, lawyers and probably just about the majority of physicians are part of the lower upper class. Upper middle class is mostly profesionals such as Architects, Civil engineers, economists, post-secondary educators, etc... as few of these are part of the the lower-upper class and mentioning these professions whose median income lies between $65k and $100k just gives poeople a better idea of what we're talking about. The generalization you described is really a generalization, especially as very few members of the upper class are celebreties, most are successful venture capitalists, professionals and entrepreneuers. Also, according to the Weberian system the difference between the lower upper class and upper upper class is defined in wealth not how the wealth was aquired. Look at Bill Gates is he just lower-upper class because he earned his wealth instead of inherting it? Regards, Signaturebrendel 07:51, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I think it should be pointed out that Lawyers and Doctors are not as well paid, relative to other skilled trades and professions, as they are in the US. For instance doctors in most of Europe including France, Germany, and Holland make less than $100,000 US a year even though they have the same skill, training, and infrastructure as in the US. (check http://www.who.int for reference) Doctors even in Canada are much less paid (but have the same level of prestige) than in the US. Most regular (non high specialist) doctors are lucky to pull in $120,000 CDN a year after all expenses are paid. Its a major reason why doctors from around the world flock to the US. The money is double or triple what can be made anywhere else in the world, and the prestige is just as high, or higher than at home. Also law is a much less paid/prestige profession in Europe and Asia than it is in the Anglosphere. Might be because civil law is much more developed here, and the rule of law is more established than say Russia or China. In Canada lawyers generally make more money than doctors, but doctors have more prestige than lawyers. rasblue 02:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, you're correct physicans in well-fare states w/ universal healthcare make less than those in the US or Australia. They still, however, make, what is by American standards a very comfortable living. But, yes you're right, only in the US is there such a great income gap between the physicans and other professionals. Also, yes, prestige is not always directly related to income. Take archtiects for example. The median income for architects is relatively low (in the 60Ks), yet the professional enjoys a high amount of prestige among the public. Thanks for contributing. Regards, Signaturebrendel 02:57, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
          • Its not just the social welfare countries such as France, Sweden, and Canada where doctors salaries are much lower than in the US. Its is just about all countries in the world outsde the US, Australia, and Japan. Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Therapists, etc. flock to the US. The US is one of the only countries in the world not suffering nursing shortages in major cities. Why? Supply and Demand. The salaries and working conditions are much better because of the open market system. Yes health care is atrociously expensive in those countries, but you get what you pay for and the consumer in the US for instance is conditioned to accept the ultra high salaries from doctors and lawyers. Nothing wrong with that, just pointing out that they have it much better off in the US than most anywhere else in the world and we shouldn't assume that every country is like the US. rasblue 05:49, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

"Yes, many, many executives, lawyers and probably just about the majority of physicians are part of the lower upper class."

Actually that is incorrect. Like I stated above, physicians and lawyers are upper-middle in general (and statements about class will always be general, how can they not be?). I don't have a textbook with me right now, but I have links, which is better than nothing:

http://www.uh.edu/~nestor/lecturenotes/unit3lecture6.html

These are lecture notes from the University of Houston about the Weberian class model. The notes explicitely state that the upper-middle class is comprised of highly educated professionals, in which he gives physicians and attorneys as examples. Also note that he mentions the "old money" vs "new money" characteristic that differentiates the upper-upper and the lower-upper class.

http://cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/macionis7/chapter11/deluxe.html

These are notes for the textbook, "Sociology" by Macionis. In the notes you'll see that Macionis differentiates, again, the upper-upper and lower-upper classes by inherited wealth vs money earned during lifetime. Also note that he mentions the role of power in the upper-class. He also describes the upper-middle class as a class with highly educated people working in prestigious white-collar professions. I have read the textbook, and in it Macionis gives physicians, lawyers and engineers as examples of this class. If you want me to provide proof of this I will gladly quote the text, with edition number and page number.

More sources: http://64.78.63.75/samples/sociology/kendall_sociology6e_ch08.pdf

This is chapter eight of the textbook, "Sociology in Our Times" by Diana Kendall. Here's a snippet: "The Upper-Middle Class Persons in the uppermiddle class are often highly educated professionals who have built careers as physicians, attorneys, stockbrokers, or corporate managers."

"Some models further divide the upper class into upper-upper (“old money”) and lower-upper (“new money”) categories (Warner and Lunt, 1941; Coleman and Rainwater, 1978; Kendall, 2002). Members of the upper-upper class come from prominent families which possess great wealth that they have held for several generations. Family names—such as Rockefeller, Mellon, Du Pont, and Kennedy—are well-known and often held in high esteem. [...] Members of the lower-upper class may be extremely wealthy but not have attained as much prestige as members of the upper-upper class. The“new rich” have earned most of their money in their own lifetime as entrepreneurs, presidents of major corporations, sports or entertainment celebrities, or top-level professionals."

http://courses.washington.edu/anthr100/5mon.pdf

These are course notes from the University of Washington. Here is a snippet: • Lower-upper class. "New money." Individuals who have become rich within their own lifetimes. • Upper-middle class. High-salaried professionals (i.e., doctors, lawyers, corporate executives).

Maybe there are sources that state that physicians and lawyers are lower-upper class, but please show me some sources or proof first. But the above descriptions are consistent with what 'I' have read. Speaking of sources, this whole page needs references. Everything from the 65k figure to the ambiguous chart seem to come from thin air. If the page is not sourced, it is simply not credible. Anyhow, about the celebrities, I don't really know the percentage that they take up in the lower-upper class, but I mentioned them to better illustrated the "new money" characteristic that is distinct in the lower-upper class (it is also mentioned in the Kendall text that I have quoted above). And to answer your question about Bill Gates, if he did not inherit the money, he is lower-upper class. No matter how rich you are, if you haven't inherited the money, you are simply not part of the upper-upper. However, I've read that Gates' family was wealthy in the first place (he did go to Harvard!), so he's probably upper-upper class anyway.

Anyway, as a compromise, I suggest a general statement like, "some prominent members of the professional class are sometimes included in the lower-upper class" instead.

Best, Mch

Okay, many successful professionals are actually lower-upper class as they constitute quite a big share of the top 5%. You see there are only 8.9 million poeple living in housholds worth over one million in this country, that's only three percent of the popultion. There are many, many doctors and lawyers with net worths greater than one million. Also, the median houshold income for both professions lies within excess of $100k a year. If your a doctor who is worth 1.2 million with an income of $130k a year, you are lower upper class. Most persons in the lower upper class are professionals as well. Highly educated professionals make up the majority of persons in the lower upper class as well as the upper middle class. (FYI: Bill Gate's father was a lawyer, but as you said his family was lower-upper class already). Tough I am not disputing the vaildity of your qoutes, according to them, only about 0.9% of the population would be lower upper or upper upper class. Also how can engineers whose median income is roughly $40k a year less than that of lawyers be in the same class?
As to the issue of sources, the graph comes from the NY Times, they created it with exactely the same descriptions you see there (I incoperated the link into the article). The other numbers come from the quintiles. I used US Census Data to find the tresholds. I also have some other sources and am trying, among many other things, to gather them.
My general problem with including pyhisicans and lawyers into the upper-middle class is the disparity in income between them and other very highly educated professionals. For example, how can someone with a PhD in economics who makes $85k a year and lives in $650k home be in the same class with a physican who makes $146k a year and lives in a 1.3 million dollar home? Where are lower paid professionals such as economists, political scientist, post-secondary educators, urban planers, civil engineers, and architect, all of whom have median incomes in the range of $60k to $90k? In the middle middle class with police officers and elementry school teachers making $40k a year? You see, lawyers and doctors make far more money, according to the US departement of labor, than other professionals with the same degree of education, specialization, and experience. Physicans and attorneys are the only professional occupations with a median income in excess of $100k, yet somehow they have become the most stereotypical professional occupations. Thanks. Regards, Signaturebrendel 20:24, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

rasblue 02:19, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

    • Let me be specific, Civil engineers are an upper-middle class profession but have a median income of less than $80k a year. Signaturebrendel 02:46, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem in your argument is that you are looking at class in purely financial terms. In "Sociology in our Times" by Diana Kendall, classes are distinguished by level of education, occupational prestige and income (the Weber model). Physicians and lawyers have more in common with the upper-middle class than the upper-classes based on this criteria. The strongest common denominator of accountants, architects, engineers, physicians and lawyers are the facts that they are university-educated professionals. All professions also place high in occupational prestige surveys: http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/sociology//pdfs/codebk03%5B1%5D.pdf Furthermore, all professionals earn high incomes, and the differences in income between them (e.g. accountant vs physician) is not as significant as a comparison with the income of the upper classes. Remember, about 1% of the population is considered upper-class (upper-upper and lower-upper), according to "Sociology in our Times" and the University of Houston notes. Kendall gives presidents of corporations, celebrities and professional athletes as examples of the lower-upper class. Therefore, how can we include someone who makes 100K with the Bill Gates' and the Michael Jordans of the world (looking at it in just financial terms)? The upper-class is supposed to represent the wealthiest and most powerful portion of society. Therefore the differences between the engineer making 70K vs the attorney making 90K is not so large after all. I'm a Canadian, and the income gap is even smaller. An engineer here will make 80K while a lawyer makes around 90K. Again, we're looking at this in financial terms and to analyze social classes one must look at the big picture (occupation, education and income). You bring in lots of figures and statements, such as 130K is lower-upper class and that professionals make up most of the lower-upper class. Again, you need to back this up with several sources as to prove that these notions are common in academia and textbooks. Also remember that the upper-classes are divided not by income differences (many in the lower-upper class are in fact wealthier than upper-uppers) but by the way their wealth was inherited or earned.

I think we have to remember that wikipedia has to be maintained as an encyclopedic source, although this is sometimes hard for a source that can be easily modified by anyone and is therefore subject to their views and opinions. Therefore, I think we should stick to the textbooks and what is commonly studied in academia.

Best, Mch

Yeah, you're probably right. I know that textbooks often use prestige and education as much as income and net worth. If, indeed occupational prestige and educational attainment are the main determinig factors of the upper-middle class, then yes, architects and lawyer are of the same social class. In the above paragraph, I have again used Census Economic Survey data to support my statements. Most poeple making more than $100k are professionals or at least have the corresponding educational attainment. I just have always been doubtful that occupational prestige and eductaional attainement really have as much of an impact on determining class as income, but you're right we should stick to the guidelines laid out by published sociologists. Also, I think we should mention that other factors besides income determined a person's social class. Thanks for your input. Regards, Signaturebrendel 06:55, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

The chart & I am upper middle?[edit]

I, too, found the chart ambiguous. The quintile labels are so faint as to be nearly unreadable -- that was my initial question: what do they call each quintile. I am an electical engieer, BSEE/CS. I'll be 60 this year. I earn a good living, but am surprised to find my income places me so solidly in upper middle class. Retirement is still a concern for me, and certainly not something I am planning to do soon. John, Denver

Well, the chart is only one definition- please read the article American middle class that should answer more of your questions. You should note however that many people underestimate their standing in society- though not as many as according to that chart. Whether or not you are upper middle class also depends on where you live and your educational attainment. Class depends on each person's perspective but I'd say your solid middle-middle class. Economists and Sociologist have not yet defined the middle class accurately but here are some general guidelines for being upper/professional middle:
  • High degree of autonomy and creativity in the work place
  • Work is largely self-directed and includes managerial duties
  • High degree of job security, no fear of out-sourcing or lay offs
  • Influence, you're work influences the way others think
  • Graduate degree, MA, MS, JVD, MD, DDS, Ph.D.
  • Income in the top third
  • Net worth incld. equity at least in the top quintile.
  • You have the lifestyle indicative of the middle class=> own home w/ as many bedrooms as people, one vacation a year (at least), one car per driver in the household, etc...

Also, see the graph @ American middle class#Statistical middle class Hope that helps. Signaturebrendel 22:29, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

John, if you are a PROFESSIONAL engineer, then you are considered upper-middle class. One of my sources in the "Lawyers and Physicians" discussion paragraph was the textbook, "Sociology" by Macionis. In that textbook, Macionis uses engineers as one of the examples of professionals in the upper-middle class. Macionis explains, to my recollection, that engineers are in the upper-middle class due to a high income, high occupational prestige, and its professional status. He also did similar explanations for physicians and lawyers. It's funny that you mention that retirement is still an issue for you. Where I'm from, engineers are known to retire quite early, in their fifties.

best, Mch

Yeah, that;s true. Also, some like Ehrenreich say that the professional middle class (upper middle class) is the "real" middle class, as the actual middle of American society cannot really afford the lifestyle indicative of the middle class. As for retirement, many professionals never really retire-they start teaching at a community college or get involved w/ volunteer work, etc... Of course, this is usually not for monetary reasons-though it may be in some cases. Signaturebrendel 05:33, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Values[edit]

Hello, I just would like to put forth the idea that it is relatively impossible to assume a whole social class's values, based solely on their income and/or job. I do agree with most of what is written in the section, except for this part:

"The majority regard themselves as liberal on social issues (such as feminism and gay rights), but some are conservative when it comes to fiscal matters (such as unionization and social security). This is the reverse of how most working class people view the world, which explains why these two groups clash more than the lower middle class and the working class."

As a member of the "upper-middle class" in America, I assure you that there are a great deal of individuals in this class who are self-identifying as "conservative" and/or "Republican". I don't think this broad of a generalization should be used to label the upper-middle class, especially the majority- I ask you, what statistical or other information do you have to support this claim? If you go by voting records, you will find that areas with these income levels have a majority of Republican voters. Also it should be noted that political views are greatly affected by region in America, for example, out of two upper-middle class families, one in the South(east) is much more likely to be conservative than one in the North(east). This does not have to do with income but with the history of sociopolitical acitivity in the respective areas. From personal experience I quite frankly find these statements ludicrous. I apologize for speaking so frankly, but I would suggest that this section simply be taken out, for the rest of the information on the values of people in this class is sufficient, and seeing as how it is difficult to verify your claim with hard data. Wikipedia is a public resource of information and if claims cannot be backed up and a consensus cannot be reached, the statements should surely just be deleted, as no one is officially in charge here. Thanks for listening to my suggestions. (This unsigned comment was left by 71.197.1.218 on 24 June, 2006.)

Thank you, I'm part of the professional upper middle class in the United States as well and I can assure you that many individuals are liberal ;-), of course I do life in costal California. You have to differentiate betweent the professional upper middle class and managerial upper middle class. The comment concerning liberalism, is in regards to the professional class only and not the managerial class. It is widely accepted among sociologists that upper-middle class professionals are liberal, I as reference use an PBS segment on class I watched. Also, look at income and the blue/red states, you will find that the mjority of the nation's wealthiest states such as Conneticut, California, New Jersey (yes, beleive it or not), New York, MD, MA, etc... are blue states while the poorest states in the nation tend to be the red states. So, yes, geographic location has prehaps more to do with the political beliefs of an individual than his or her class, nontheless, upper middle class professionals tend to be liberal more so than other demographics. Naturally there will always be expetions that's why we state, "tend to be" as to imply that we are talking of general trend that is commonly accepted among sociologists. As to your comment, "From personal experience I quite frankly find these statements ludicrous." Well for me it's the opposite. Thank for beign interested in Wikipedia though and please add ~~~~ at the end of your posts in order to identify yourself. FYI: No, no one is in charge here, but that doesn't justify deleting an entire section based purely upon your personal experience. Let me reassure you that we are not assuming "a whole social class's values, based solely on their income and/or job." Best Regards, Signaturebrendel 03:09, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Housholdkommentar[edit]

OK, I promised to elaborate on why I think several of those closely-related articles on social classes are not that superb IMHO and how they can be improved. I will voice my concerns here taking this very article as an example, but I guess it pertains to all of the articles concerned.

  1. First of all, these are articles on sociological concepts, not natural phenomena (pl?) like planets or chemical elements. The subjects are even more elusive than, say, languages or ancient Greek theatre. Language can be said to exist and have some qualities without much doubt and, apart from some controversial issues, you can write about it as if it was a sure and solid thing comparable to said planets or such.
    What it means is that this article should describe sociological concepts and not try to imply that there are phenomena that surely exist in described form in real life. Sociological concepts by definition are a way or perceiving reality, not the reality itself.
  2. The structure, and thus contents, of the article are far from comprehensive and appropriately covering the subject. It should begin by a discussion of the concept in current psychology and its evolution in the history of this branch of science, then some applications should follow, and then some specific characteristics of the concept might be discussed, e.g. the education, income, items, values etc. observed or believed by sociologists to be tied to identify the upper middle class, or to be peculiar to the members of it. This should take into consideration the following two reservations.
  3. The article is extremely Americo-centric. If anything, it should discuss the concept as such in worldwide sociology, and then perhaps contain subsections discussing the applications of it in sociological research into specific societies, like American. Article that starts with an American viewpoint and then adds "in other countries" is totally unacceptable.
    To put that into perspective, you do not have to refer to the US or Americans themselves to make the article Americo-centric. For example, the mentioning of college (which is a rather Anglosaxon, if not even American-specific concept) makes the article not applicable to worldwide situation. Any mentions of specific monetary values do so too. Remember that there is upper middle class not only in America or Europe or other developed countries, but also Pakistan or Armenia. Life can be so much different there, so applying American/Western standards to the concept is not really a good way.
  4. The article lacks historic perspective. The upper middle class, both as a concept and set of observed social phenomena, developed throughout the years. Even if there are traces of the fact that it is not a new phenomenon in the article, it is not discussed at all. Besides, the references to items such as luxury automobiles are quite strictly bound to specific temporal period - the 19th century architect pictured rather did not own one. I guess there are more general characteristics of the upper middle class to be found, which could than be exemplified by e.g. owning a luxury automobile in contemporary USA.
  5. I also believe all of the reservations voiced above by other users are legitimate.
  6. In general, such an article should be based on extensive research of the literature on the subject, not just constructed basing on some general concepts one has with the goal to further expand/enhance it in the future. Such articles need to have very good and well though-out structure that reflects the subject in its entirety - in its present form, it's hardly ammendable without a major rewrite, which basically amounts to starting over.
I am being pretty harsh on this article here, but I believe this is a really delicate and tough matter for an encyclopedic article, unlike e.g. motor cars or historic buildings (and other material items). It needs special attention and meticulousness and I believe much higher standard needs to be set as "minimium" for such articles. This is why I mentioned "quality over quantity" in some discussion earlier - I would very much prefer to have only one of those sociology-related articles created after weeks, or even months of research and written really superbly (don't mean style and other WP qualities here, just the way it deals with the matter) than all of them in the present form. Lieber arm und gesund, als reich und krank :D Bravada, talk - 22:55, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for, what I guess is a peer review. I will make changes based on your suggestion and repharse the wording so it becomes more clear that we are not talking about an actual object but much rather about an ideology. Very similar to other articles such as Superpower we are dealing with a way of perceiving things and a term that changes its meaning from individual to individual. Below are is what I take from your suggestion:

  1. Sociological concepts by definition are a way or perceiving reality, not the reality itself - Yes, no doubt about it. It wasn't my intention that the article readers as though it was dealing with an actual object- the wording needs to be changed.
  2. Yes, there article is US and probably Deutsch-centric, but that's difficult to correct as most of the literature relating to the issue that I have read is American or German and I have deicated myself to studying American and Western European culutre, so I agree something needs to be done, unfortunately I'm not too familiar w/ non-Euro cultures.
  3. A history section? Interesting, but consider that this is a new class and used to be called the Burgoise (or however you spell that). But that something to think about.
  4. While I don't think we need to start over, this article currently does deal with "general concepts one has with the goal to further expand/enhance it in the future" - eventually it will be expanded so I invite anyone who has refs and knows the topic to contribute! If you reading this you can help!

Thank you for the review, Bravada. Best Regards, Signaturebrendel 23:12, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Artists?[edit]

I surprised that artists are included as members of the upper middle classes. Here in the UK I have worked with and taught lots of them and all of them I've ever met have been unintelligent egotistical work-shy lay-abouts who, as my mother would have said, ought to go out and get a proper job. They survive by living off the dole and living in council houses.

Perhaps you mean people like pop stars. Of the true artists, I expect only less than 1% of them make a living by their "art".

I also thought that much of the article was prepared by someone sitting down in an armchair and just writing down common knowledge about the subject.

Article is quite ambiguous[edit]

I find that the article is bound to money, that class, or should I say social standing and how much cash one has in the bank makes them part of the upper middle class. The fact that this article does not address what the current middle class consider status symbols, implements that make them feel that they are cultured in some small way etc. The fact that America, and I shall address this to America because this article and those like it seem based strongly around America. The fact that the USA is made up of the middle class is not talked about enough. America is made of wealthy peasants, is it not? --Margrave1206 17:44, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Pardon me, but wouldn't this message be more appropriate on the middle class article. I'm guessing that you are talking about the working class majority something I covered here: American middle class#working class majority. Please keep in mind that this article deals with the upper middle class: the top 20% of society. In the US the upper middle class consists of the culutred and highly educated. It is perceisely that which sets the upper middle class apart from the majority. SignaturebrendelNow under review! 18:46, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Class?[edit]

This article is constructed using the collected predjudice of the editors of wikipedia. Thats fine in a way, because that is what class is, but I would like to see a little more published information and theory referenced. Perhaps also a little more of the idea that class is a constructed notion, and therefore it may defy attempts to ridgidly define it. Lets make marx proud of us.--86.20.247.36 22:06, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

You're right. Class is a sociological conntrcut and thus a vague subject that cannot be "rigidly" defined. SignaturebrendelHAPPY HOLIDAYS 00:03, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Don't mock my spelling!--86.20.247.36 16:11, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I wasn't mocking your spelling but actually didn't see the mistake. Regards, SignaturebrendelHAPPY HOLIDAYS 18:38, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

WTF![edit]

Oh my fucking god! I'm asking what the hell the percenage of poor, middle class, and rich is