Defining and Measuring Social Class
The Government currently uses the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification or NS-SEC, scheme when producing official data on social class. This is an occupationally based classification that uses households as the main unit of analysis. Each household is considered as having a normal 'head', chosen on the basis of the highest income. In the case of dual income households wher the incomes are equal, age becomes a discriminating factor, with the older person becoming the sole indivator of socio-economic position of the household.
The NS-SEC provides an objective measurement of occupational level. This is different from subjective measurements that ask people to place themselves in terms of class position and how they define themselves. This may be based on a number of factors; housing, parents or education.
Sometimes the objective and…