This is in contrast to the term “lower-middle class,” which is used for the group at the opposite end of the middle class stratum, and to the broader term “middle class.
Occupational prestige is one way in which occupation may affect a person’s social class independent of income and educational attainment.
In 2005, 22% of American households had two income earners. Poverty Rate 1959-2009: This chart depicts the number of people living in poverty during each year from 1959-2003.  The idea that American society can be divided into social classes is disputed, and there are many competing class systems. According to Dennis Gilbert, "College life, generally a prologue to upper-middle class careers, delays marriage and encourages informal, relatively egalitarian association between men and women.". The most prominent academic models split the middle class into two sections. Before 1865 large southern plantations used slaves. According to the U.S. Census, men tend to have higher income than women, while Asians and whites earned more than African Americans and Hispanics. , Members of the upper class control and own significant portions of corporate America and may exercise indirect power through the investment of capital.
CC licensed content, Specific attribution, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class_in_the_United_States%23Academic_models, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/social-network, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/The+American+Dream, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/corporate-elite, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_States, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_upper_class, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/capital_gain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/educational%20attainment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_middle_class, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/salaried-professionals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Campus_Spring.jpg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class%23Lower_middle_class, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_middle_class, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/college-education, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White%20Collar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/professional, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_class, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_class_in_the_United_States, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Blue+Collar, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/working_class, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/manual_labor, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_strike_1934.jpg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_lower_class, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Poverty+line, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/public_assistance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gilbert_model.png, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender%20Wage%20Gap, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/race-wage-gap, http://www.boundless.com//sociology/definition/great-divergence.  The term can be used either to describe a relative elite of professionals and managers – also called the upper middle class – or it can be used to describe those in-between the extremes of wealth, disregarding considerable differences in income, culture, educational attainment, influence, and occupation.
While income is often seen as a type of wealth in colloquial language use, wealth and income are two substantially different measures of economic prosperity. Middle class individuals, who were more open towards "nonconformity" and emphasized individual self-direction as well as critical thinking, were also less stringent in their application of gender roles.
In colloquial descriptions of the class system the middle-middle class may be described as consisting of those in the middle of the social strata.
Education is an indicator of class position, meaning that unequal distribution of income by education points to inequality between the classes. Those who do not participate in the labor force, and who rely on public assistance, such as food stamps and welfare checks, as their main source of income, are commonly identified as members of the underclass, or, colloquially, the poor.
Post-1970, a higher proportion of the income of high-income taxpayers comes predominantly from employment compensation–60% of earners in the top 0.1% are executives, managers, supervisors, and financial professionals, and the five most common professions among the top 1% of earners are managers, physicians, administrators, lawyers, and financial specialists. Thompson & Hickey place roughly 17% to 20% of households in the lower classes. In 2006, Harvard researchers divided the United States into "eight Americas. Wealth is commonly measured in terms of net worth, which is the sum of all assets, including home equity, minus all liabilities. High status professional occupations, such as those of a doctor, lawyer, or CEO, require high educational attainment and are associated with the upper-middle and upper classes.  Middle-class parents tend to emphasize internal standards and values while working-class parents emphasize external values. Standard of living varies depending on number of income earners, but is commonly just adequate. Peter W. Cookson and Caroline Hodges Persell, Sociology: Third Edition by Paul B. Horton and Chester L. Hunt, Educational attainment in the United States, attainment of post-secondary and graduate degrees, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, socioeconomic mobility in the United States, American middle class § The Professional/Managerial middle class, American middle class § Statistical middle class, Agricultural history of the United States, Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, "Middle class according to The Drum Major Institute for public policy", "United States Census Bureau, household income, 2006", "United States Census Bureau, median income of persons, age 25 or older", "New York Times definition of class according to the quintiles", "United States Census Bureau, Income earners by quintile", "United States Census Bureau report on educational attainment in the United States, 2003", "United States Census Bureau, income distribution of individuals, employed full-time, year round, age 25–64, 2006", "United States Census Bureau, 2005, data published on Infoplease.com", "United States Census Bureau, educational attainment and income, age 25+, 2006", "United States Census Bureau, income quintiles and Top 5%, 2004", PolitiFact | Michael Moore movie says that top 1 percent owns more financial wealth than bottom 95 percent, Preparing for Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools, "Median annual earnings of CEOs according to the United States Department of Labor", "Income sources of top corporate personnel", "Salaries for top level corporate personnel", "United States Census 2005 Economic Survey, income data", "Salaries of politicians lower than that of top-level corporate personnel", "Economic statutes pertaining to congressmen", "The Christian Science Monitor, What is middle class? In 2005, approximately one and a half percent (1.5%) of households in the United States had incomes exceeding $250,000 with the top 5% having incomes exceeding $157,000. In this respect, farming mirrors big business: like any enterprise, a farm has owners (who may be a family or a corporation), salaried managers, supervisors, foremen and workers. In some American subcultures, people considered to be of a particular race, ethnicity, income range, educational background, religion, or gender are a significant majority; for example, hip-hop culture vs. preppy culture or fans of water polo vs. NASCAR. Education Pays: This graphic, released by the US Department of Labor, shows the correlation between higher education, employment status, and income. Some high school education. The wealth—more specifically, the median net worth—of households in the United States varies with relation to race, education, geographic location, and gender.
Social class in the United States is a controversial issue, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. The most common professions of the upper-middle class tend to center on conceptualizing, consulting, and instruction. The job characteristics of middle class respondents included: "Work Independently, Varied Tasks, Work with People or Data," versus working-class parents of reported "Close Supervision and Repetitive Work…".
Low educational attainment and disabilities are two of the main reasons individuals can either struggle to find work or fall into the lower class. Broadly speaking, the United States aspires to be an egalitarian country with social mobility; the American Dream includes the idea from the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" and have the "unalienable right" to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Members of the upper class accumulate wealth through investments and capital gains, rather than through annual salaries. This Spotlight on Statistics examines Consumer Expenditure Survey data to explore the patterns of social and economic factors by race and ethnicity.
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