Stratification within the Middle Class: Is It Only about Income?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Kristyn FRANK, Statistics Canada, Canada
Classical sociological theories posit that economic conditions are the basis for people’s subjective class identities However, the amount of mismatch between subjective and objective measures of class is non-trivial. Within Canadian society, the majority identify as middle class and there is a tendency to discuss this group as if it were homogenous. Few surveys ask respondents about their subjective social class and those that do rarely distinguish between different strata within the middle class. A new data set that links the Canadian General Social Survey with income tax data provides an opportunity to investigate differences among those who identify as middle class. This paper will examine whether there are socio-demographic, occupational status, and income variations among individuals who self-identify as upper-middle, middle, or lower-middle class. In addition to providing a profile of individuals who self-identify with these three social classes, results will provide insight into whether objective measures such as income and occupational status account for distinctions within the middle class.