REPORT: Only 2% of Australians think of themselves as 'upper class'

Downton Abbey.

A new study out by The Australian National University has revealed that most Australians consider themselves to be part of either the working or middle class.

These groups, based on a range of measures including income, education, social contacts and social activities, contradict the common perception that Australia is a classless society.

According to the ANU poll, which surveyed 1,200 people, most Australians (52%) consider themselves middle class.

That’s a long-standing tendency, but has become stronger in recent times as “white collar” industries have expanded shifting away from manufacturing and other “blue collar” industries.

The next class most Australian’s identify with is the working class. Only 2% of Australians consider themselves to be upper class, despite the fact that the researchers found around a quarter of the population could be described as belonging to the “affluent” classes.

According to researchers while self-identification in society is important, it does accurately reflect the complex class levels in Australia.

In fact, they found that if self-described class membership was the basis of the findings, there would only be two classes in Australia: working and middle.

“Australians largely understand what class they are. But they are also likely to underestimate their affluence and place in society, possibly underlining the ethos of an egalitarian society,” Dr Biddle said, adding that one in four Australian’s who describe themselves as middle class actually belong in the two affluent categories.

Here’s the break down of classes in Australia according to ANU.

  • Established affluent (14%)
  • Emergent affluent (12%)
  • Mobile middle (25%)
  • Established middle (25%)
  • Established working (24%)

Here’s the breakdown in full, and where you fit in.

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