SIZE OF EACH SOCIAL CLASS
Earlier studies agreed that, in-a six-class ranking scale, the two lower classes included slightly over half the U.S. population [Warner and Lunt, 1941; Centers, 1949]. Later studies seemed to indicate that the lower classes were decreasing in size and the middle and upper classes were increasing. The most recent income estimates seem to indicate a reversal of that trend, but the two lower Classes still represent less than half the population. A majority of the population has now finis ed high school, as contrasted to only about a third in 1947; the proportion in semiskilled and. unskilled jobs has dropped, and proportionately fewer are living in poverty. The jobs are as changes in economic life demand more technical and professional personnel. And, as technology changes the content of jobs, their status also changes. Most factory jobs used to have dirty working conditions and were filled by people who w re comparatively unskilled and low paid. Today more and more factory jobs arc can, and workers are paid better wages. Measurement of classes is complicated because there are several criteria of membership in a given class and many families do not show all the characteristics of anyone class level. For example, the ideal type lower- class family would live in an urban slum or rural shack; one or more adult members round drink quite heavily, and the male family head would often be absent; the family would have title education or interest in education; and its low income would come partly from- occasional unskilled labor but largely from welfare. Probably comparatively few class families meet all these conditions. While class differences are real, the boundaries and membership of each class cannot e dearly fixed. Table 14-2 shows a distribution of people and income for the United States. This would he quite similar for most of the industrialized countries. The distribution for the Philippines would be fairly typical developing countries. The table shows a small Philippine middle and upper class and a large lower.
He doesn't like marriage, but he is married for reasons he finds difficult to explain. He would much rather be hunting, fishing or drinking with the boys than talking or watching with his wife I (le Masters) find myself somewhat surprised at the extent of the suspicion and distrust the blue-collar workers have of the white-collar middle and upper classes." (Dust jacket of E. E. Le Masters: Blue Collar Aristocrats., The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1975.