British people are much more likely to say they are working class than citizens of any other country, suggests a new study.
Researchers found that four out of 10 Brits (40 per cent) think of themselves as working class, compared to just over a quarter in other industrialised countries (27 per cent).
In Britain 40 per cent said they were working class, 18 per cent lower middle class, 35 per cent middle class and four per cent upper middle class.
Overall, 27 per cent said they were working class, 17 per cent lower middle class, 41 per cent middle and eight per cent upper middle.
Sociologist Edward Haddon said that generally Brits’ view of their social class was accurate, although some highly educated people from working class background regarded themselves as middle class.
He said the proportion of those saying they were working class in Britain had fallen from 46 per cent in 1987 to 40 per cent in 2009, the year the data he worked on were collected. In that time, the proportion saying they were middle class rose from 27 per cent to 35 per cent.
Mr Haddon, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia in Canada, told the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Birmingham that he analysed survey responses from around 27,000 people in 40 countries, almost 1,000 of them British.
The other countries included the United States, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, as well as nations in Europe and South America.
Mr Haddon said: “A strong factor behind the increase in the proportion of people regarding themselves as middle class was that working class people were achieving a higher of education.
“This influenced their belief about what class they were in, even though they were came from a working class background and were in working class jobs.”