The middle class refers to a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy, often defined by occupation, income, education, or social status. The term has historically been associated with modernity, capitalism and political debate. Common definitions for the middle class range from the middle fifth of individuals on a nation's income ladder, to everyone but the poorest and wealthiest 20%. Theories like "Paradox of Interest" use decile groups and wealth distribution data to determine the size and wealth share of the middle class.
There has been significant global middle-class growth over time. In February 2009, The Economist asserted that over half of the world's population belonged to the middle class, as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterized the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income and defined it as beginning at the point where people have roughly a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter.
History and evolution of the term
The term "middle class" is first attested in James Bradshaw's 1745 pamphlet Scheme to prevent running Irish Wools to France. Another phrase used in early modern Europe was "the middling sort".
The term "middle class" has had several, sometimes contradictory, meanings. Friedrich Engels saw the category as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry in late-feudalist society.[need quotation to verify] While the nobility owned much of the countryside, and the peasantry worked it, a new bourgeoisie (literally "town-dwellers") arose around mercantile functions in the city. In France, the middle classes helped drive the French Revolution. This "middle class" eventually overthrew the ruling monarchists of feudal society, thus becoming the new ruling class or bourgeoisie in the new capitalist-dominated societies.
The modern usage of the term "middle-class", however, dates to the 1913 UK Registrar-General's report, in which the statistician T.H.C. Stevenson identified the middle class as those falling between the upper-class and the working-class. The middle class includes: professionals, managers, and senior civil servants. The chief defining characteristic of membership in the middle-class is control of significant human capital while still being under the dominion of the elite upper class, who control much of the financial and legal capital in the world.
Within capitalism, "middle-class" initially referred to the bourgeoisie; later, with the further differentiation of classes as capitalist societies developed, the term came to be synonymous with the term petite bourgeoisie. The boom-and-bust cycles of capitalist economies result in the periodic (and more or less temporary) impoverisation and proletarianisation of much of the petite bourgeois world, resulting in their moving back and forth between working-class and petite-bourgeois status. The typical modern definitions of "middle class" tend to ignore the fact that the classical petite-bourgeoisie is and has always been the owner of a small-to medium-sized business whose income is derived almost exclusively from the employment of workers; "middle class" came to refer to the combination of the labour aristocracy, professionals, and salaried, white-collar workers.
The size of the middle class depends on how it is defined, whether by education, wealth, environment of upbringing, social network, manners or values, etc. These are all related, but are far from deterministically dependent. The following factors are often ascribed in the literature on this topic to a "middle class:"[by whom?]
- Achievement of tertiary education.
- Holding professional qualifications, including academics, lawyers, chartered engineers, politicians, and doctors, regardless of leisure or wealth.
- Belief in bourgeois values, such as high rates of house ownership, delayed gratification, and jobs that are perceived to be secure.
- Lifestyle. In the United Kingdom, social status has historically been linked less directly to wealth than in the United States, and has also been judged by such characteristics as accent (Received Pronunciation and U and non-U English), manners, type of school attended (state or private school), occupation, and the class of a person's family, circle of friends and acquaintances.
In the United States, by the end of the twentieth century, more people identified themselves as middle-class (with insignificant numbers identifying themselves as upper-class). The Labour Party in the UK, which grew out of the organised labour movement and originally drew almost all of its support from the working-class, reinvented itself under Tony Blair in the 1990s as "New Labour", a party competing with the Conservative Party for the votes of the middle-class as well as those of the Labour Party's traditional group of voters – the working-class. Around 40% of British people consider themselves to be middle class, and this number has remained relatively stable over the last few decades.
Marxism defines social classes according to their relationship with the means of production. The main basis of social class division of Marxism: the possession of means of production, the role and position it plays in social labor organization (production process), the distribution of wealth and resources and the amount. The "middle class" is said to be the class below the ruling class and above the proletariat in the Marxist social schema and is synonymous with the term "petite-" or "petty-bourgeoisie". Marxist writers have used the term in two distinct but related ways. In the first sense, it is used for the bourgeoisie (the urban merchant and professional class) that arose between the aristocracy and the proletariat in the waning years of feudalism in the Marxist model. Vladimir Lenin stated that the "peasantry ... in Russia constitute eight- or nine-tenths of the petty bourgeoisie". However, in modern developed countries, Marxist writers define the petite bourgeoisie as primarily comprising (as the name implies) owners of small to medium-sized businesses, who derive their income from the exploitation of wage-laborers (and who are in turn exploited by the "big" bourgeoisie i.e. bankers, owners of large corporate trusts, etc.) as well as the highly educated professional class of doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, university professors, salaried middle-management of capitalist enterprises of all sizes, etc. – as the "middle class" which stands between the ruling capitalist "owners of the means of production" and the working class (whose income is derived solely from hourly wages).
Pioneer 20th century American Marxist theoretician Louis C. Fraina (Lewis Corey) defined the middle class as "the class of independent small enterprisers, owners of productive property from which a livelihood is derived". From Fraina's perspective, this social category included "propertied farmers" but not propertyless tenant farmers. Middle class also included salaried managerial and supervisory employees but not "the masses of propertyless, dependent salaried employees. Fraina speculated that the entire category of salaried employees might be adequately described as a "new middle class" in economic terms, although this remained a social grouping in which "most of whose members are a new proletariat."
In 1977 Barbara Ehrenreich and her then husband John defined a new class in the United States as "salaried mental workers who do not own the means of production and whose major function in the social division of labor ... [is] ... the reproduction of capitalist culture and capitalist class relations;" the Ehrenreichs named this group the "professional–managerial class". This group of middle-class professionals is distinguished from other social classes by their training and education (typically business qualifications and university degrees), with example occupations including academics and teachers, social workers, engineers, accountants, managers, nurses, and middle-level administrators. The Ehrenreichs developed their definition from studies by André Gorz, Serge Mallet, and others, of a "new working class," which, despite education and a perception of themselves as middle class, were part of the working class because they did not own the means of production, and were wage earners paid to produce a piece of capital. The professional–managerial class seek higher rank status and salaries and tend to have incomes above the average for their country.
Recent global growth
It is important to understand that modern definitions of the term "middle class" are often politically motivated and vary according to the exigencies of political purpose which they were conceived to serve in the first place as well as due to the multiplicity of more- or less-scientific methods used to measure and compare "wealth" between modern advanced industrial states (where poverty is relatively low and the distribution of wealth more egalitarian in a relative sense) and in developing countries (where poverty and a profoundly unequal distribution of wealth crush the vast majority of the population). Many of these methods of comparison have been harshly criticised; for example, economist Thomas Piketty, in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, describes one of the most commonly used comparative measures of wealth across the globe – the Gini coefficient – as being an example of "synthetic indices ... which mix very different things, such as inequality with respect to labor and capital, so that it is impossible to distinguish clearly among the multiple dimensions of inequality and the various mechanisms at work."
In February 2009, The Economist asserted that over half the world's population now belongs to the middle class, as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterized the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income, so that they do not live from hand-to-mouth as the poor do, and defined it as beginning at the point where people have roughly a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter. This allows people to buy consumer goods, improve their health care, and provide for their children's education. Most of the emerging middle class consists of people who are middle class by the standards of the developing world but not the developed one, since their money incomes do not match developed country levels, but the percentage of it which is discretionary does. By this definition, the number of middle-class people in Asia exceeded that in the West sometime around 2007 or 2008.
The Economist's article pointed out that in many emerging countries, the middle class has not grown incrementally but explosively. The point at which the poor start entering the middle class by the millions is alleged to be the time when poor countries get the maximum benefit from cheap labour through international trade, before they price themselves out of world markets for cheap goods. It is also a period of rapid urbanization, when subsistence farmers abandon marginal farms to work in factories, resulting in a several-fold increase in their economic productivity before their wages catch up to international levels. That stage was reached in China sometime between 1990 and 2005, when the Chinese "middle class" grew from 15% to 62% of the population and is just being reached in India now.
The Economist predicted that surge across the poverty line should continue for a couple of decades and the global middle class will grow exponentially between now and 2030. Based on the rapid growth, scholars expect the global middle class to be the driving force for sustainable development. This assumption, however, is contested (see below).
As the American middle class is estimated by some researchers to comprise approximately 45% of the population, The Economist's article would put the size of the American middle class below the world average. This difference is due to the extreme difference in definitions between The Economist's and many other models.[discuss]
In 2010, a working paper by the OECD asserted that 1.8 billion people were now members of the global "middle class". Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report 2014, released in October 2014, estimated that one billion adults belonged to the "middle class," with wealth anywhere between the range of $10,000–$100,000.
According to a study carried out by the Pew Research Center, a combined 16% of the world's population in 2011 were "upper-middle income" and "upper income".
An April 2019 OECD report said that the millennial generation is being pushed out of the middle class throughout the Western world.
In 2012, the "middle class" in Russia was estimated as 15% of the whole population. Due to sustainable growth, the pre-crisis level was exceeded. In 2015, research from the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated that around 15% of the Russian population are "firmly middle class", while around another 25% are "on the periphery".
Since the beginning of the 21st century, China's middle class has grown by significant margins. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, by 2013, some 420 million people, or 31%, of the Chinese population qualified as middle class. Based on the World Bank definition of middle class as those having with daily spending between $10 and $50 per day, nearly 40% of the Chinese population were considered middle class as of 2017.
China's middle class represents a significant market force with effects extending beyond its borders. The promise of increased prosperity and a consumer society has been a driving force behind this growth, while also suggesting the potential for political changes similar to those seen in Europe and North America. However, it's important to note that the Chinese middle class differs substantially from its Western counterparts. Despite its growth, it remains a relatively small group profoundly joined with the Chinese state. This unique relationship challenges assumptions about its role in political change. Criticisms from this demographic often center on improving efficiency and social justice within the existing political framework, rather than advocating for a regime change.
Estimates vary widely on the number of middle-class people in India. A 1983 article put the Indian middle class as somewhere between 70 and 100 million. According to one study the middle class in India stood at between 60 and 80 million by 1990. According to The Economist, 78 million of India's population are considered middle class as of 2017, if defined using the cutoff of those making more than $10 per day, a standard used by the India's National Council of Applied Economic Research. If including those with incomes between $2 and $10 per day, the number increases to 604 million. This was termed by researchers as the "new middle class". Measures considered include geography, lifestyle, income, and education. The World Inequality Report in 2018 further concluded that elites (i.e. the top 10%) are accumulating wealth at a greater rate than the middle class, that rather than growing, India's middle class may be shrinking in size.
According to a 2014 study by Standard Bank economist Simon Freemantle, a total of 15.3 million households in 11 surveyed African nations are middle-class. These include Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In South Africa, a report conducted by the Institute for Race Relations in 2015 estimated that between 10% and 20% of South Africans are middle class, based on various criteria. An earlier study estimated that in 2008 21.3% of South Africans were members of the middle class.
A study by EIU Canback indicates 90% of Africans fall below an income of $10 a day. The proportion of Africans in the $10–$20 middle class (excluding South Africa), rose from 4.4% to only 6.2% between 2004 and 2014. Over the same period, the proportion of "upper middle class" income ($20–$50 a day) went from 1.4% to 2.3%.
Over the years estimates on the size of the Latin American middle class have varied. A 1960 study stated that the middle strata in Latin America as a whole, exclusive of Indians, constituted just under 20% of the national society. A 1964 study estimated that 45 million Latin Americans belonged to the urban middle class while 15 million to the urban well-to-do and 8 million to the rural middle class and well-to-do. In Brazil, according to one estimate, in 1970 the lower middle class comprised 12% of the population, while the upper middle class comprised 3%. In the mid-1970s it was estimated by one authority that the Brazilian middle class comprised between 15 and 25% of the population. A 1969 economic survey estimated that 15% of Brazilians belonged to the middle class. According to one study, the Argentinian middle class by 1970 comprised 38% of the economically active population, compared with 19% in Brazil and 24% in Mexico. A 1975 study on Mexico estimated that the middle class in 1968 (defined as families earning between 2,000 and 5,000 pesos annually) comprised 36.4% of the population, while the upper class (defined as families earning over 5,000 pesos annually) comprised 9.4% of the population and the lower class (defined as families earning less than 2,000 pesos annually) comprised 53.9% of the population.
According to a study by the World Bank, the number of Latin Americans who are middle class rose from 103 million to 152 million between 2003 and 2009.
- Lower middle class
- Upper middle class
- African-American middle class
- British class system
- Lower class
- Occupational prestige
- Social environment
- Rational-legal authority
- Normalization (sociology)
- Iron cage
- Habitus (sociology)
- Cultural determinism
- One-third hypothesis
- Middle-class squeeze
- Dominant culture
- Cultural hegemony
- The Lonely Crowd
- Status paradox of migration
- Middle Class Millionaire
- López & Weinstein, A. Ricardo & Barbara (2012). The making of the middle class: toward a transnational history. North Carolina, US.: Duke University Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9780822394815.
- Tarkhnishvili, Anna & Levan (2013). "Middle Class: Definition, Role and Development" (PDF). Global Journal of Human Social Science, Sociology & Culture. 13: 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-01-23. Retrieved 2022-03-19 – via Global Journals.
- "What is middle class, anyway?". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
- Baizidi, Rahim (17 July 2019). "Paradoxical class: paradox of interest and political conservatism in middle class". Asian Journal of Political Science. 27 (3): 272–285. doi:10.1080/02185377.2019.1642772. ISSN 0218-5377. S2CID 199308683.
- Parker, John (12 February 2009). "Special report: Burgeoning bourgeoisie". The Economist. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
- "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". oed.com. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- James Bradshaw (1745). scheme to prevent the running of Irish wools to France: and Irish woollen goods to foreign countries. By prohibiting the importation of Spanish wools into Ireland, ... Humbly offered to the consideration of Parliament. By a Merchant of London. printed for J. Smith, and G. Faulkner. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Hunt, Margaret R. (1996). The Middling Sort Commerce, Gender, and the Family in England, 1680–1780. University California Press.
- "To be one of "the middling sort" in urban England in the late seventeenth or eighteenth century was to live a life tied, one way or another, to the world of commerce."
- E.N. Williams, "Our Merchants Are Princes": The English Middle Classes In The Eighteenth Century" History Today (Aug 1962) Vol. 12 Issue 8, pp548-557.
- Engels, Friedrich (1892). 1892 Introduction to "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific". Marxists Internet Archive: Marxists Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2022-04-09. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
- Georges Lefebvre, La Révolution Française, 1951 1957
- Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (1848). Manifesto of the Communist Party. Marxists Internet Archive: Marxists Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
- "Social Research Update 9: Official Social Classifications in the UK". sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
- Williams, "Our Merchants Are Princes": The English Middle Classes In The Eighteenth Century" History Today (Aug 1962), Vol. 12 Issue 8, pp548-557.
- "Who is the Middle Class?". PBS. 25 June 2004. Archived from the original on 2 February 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Survey on Class". Ipsos MORI. 19 March 2008. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Perceptions of Social Class (trends)". Ipsos MORI. 19 March 2008. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Room for Debate: Who Should Be the Judge of Middle Class?". The New York Times. 23 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- Butler, Patrick (29 June 2016). "Most People Today Regard Themselves as Working Class". Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
Alternative link for same study: Oxford University News: Most People in Britain Today Regard Themselves as Working Class Archived 2020-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
- Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class, 2019-05-01, retrieved 2023-12-05
- Communist League Britain, Marxism and Class: Some definitions. undated. http://www.mltranslations.org/Britain/Marxclass.htm Archived 2009-11-01 at the Wayback Machine at §The 'Middle Class'
- Lenin, V. I. (25 February 1907). "The Bolsheviks and the Petty Bourgeoisie". Marxists Internet Archive. Novy Luch. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
In particular, the, peasantry, who in Russia constitute eight- or nine-tenths of the petty bourgeoisie, are struggling primarily for land.
- Lenin, V.I. (9–10 October 1917). "The Tasks of the Revolution". Marxists Internet Archive. Rabochy Put. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
Russia is a country of the petty bourgeoisie, by far the greater part of the population belonging to this class.
- Lewis Corey, "American Class Relations", Marxist Quarterly, vol. 1 no. 2 (January–March 1937), p. 141.
- Stewart Clegg, Paul Boreham, Geoff Dow; Class, politics, and the economy. Routledge. 1986. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7102-0452-3. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Philip Green, Green, Philip (1985). Retrieving democracy: in search of civic equality Rowman & Littlefield. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8476-7405-3. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Hidden Technocrats: The New Class and New Capitalism. Transaction Publishers. 1991. ISBN 978-1-56000-787-6. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Walker, Pat (1979). Between labor and capital – Google Books. South End Press. ISBN 978-0-89608-037-9. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- The general theory of ... – Google Books. 1998. ISBN 978-0-521-59006-8. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Gail Paradise Kelly, Sheila Slaughter; Women's higher education in comparative perspective. Springer. 1990. ISBN 978-0-7923-0800-3. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Piketty, Thomas (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-674-43000-6.
- Parker, John (12 February 2009). "Special report: Burgeoning bourgeoisie". The Economist (published 13 February 2009). Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- "It is doubtful, whether "middle classes" in developing countries are driving progress". D+C. 6 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2015-02-28.
- Gilbert, D. (2002) The American Class Structure: In An Age of Growing Inequality. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; Thompson, W. & Hickey, J. (2005).
- Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon; Beeghley, L. (2004).
- The Structure of Social Stratification in the United States. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.
- Kharas, Homi (January 2010). "The Emerging Middle Class in Developing Countries" (PDF). oecd.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2017.
- "China's "middle class" 10 times larger than that in India". The Times of India. 14 October 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-03-08. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
- "World Population by Income". Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. 8 July 2015. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Partington, Richard (10 April 2019). "Millennials being squeezed out of middle class, says OECD". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- Meas 2008 crisis.[full citation needed]
- "Middle class in Russia is 15% of the whole population" (PDF). Rosgosstrakh Strategic Research Centre. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-15. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Russian middle class slowly stirred to action by economic crisis". Yahoo News UK. 10 April 2015. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
- Crabb, Mary W. (2010). "Governing the middle-class family in urban China: educational reform and questions of choice". Economy and Society. 39 (3): 385–402. doi:10.1080/03085147.2010.486216. ISSN 0308-5147. S2CID 144365982.
- "How well-off is China's middle class?". chinapower.csis.org. Archived from the original on 2021-10-30. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
- Goodman, David. "Why China's middle class supports the Communist Party". The Christian Science Monitor. Tribune Content Agency. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
- Stevens, William K. (August 14, 1983). "India's Growing Middle-Income Group Emerges As a Class". The New York Times. p. E3. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
- Consumerism in World History The Global Transformation of Desire By Peter N. Stearns, Professor of History and Provost Peter N Stearns, 2001, p. 129.
- "India's missing middle class". The Economist. 11 January 2018. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- Krishnan, Sandhya; Hatekar, Neeraj (3 June 2017). "Rise of the New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure". Economic and Political Weekly. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
- "Making sense of Africa's middle class". howwemadeitinafrica.com. 12 September 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "How South Africa's middle class makes use of technology – htxt.africa". htxt.africa. 3 August 2015. Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "Black middle class has expanded quickly but may now slow – new IRR report". irr.org.za. Archived from the original on 2015-09-27. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
- "SA middle class getting poorer". BusinessTech. 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "Few and far between". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- Brandi, Clara; Büge, Max (2014). A Cartography of the New Middle Classes in Developing and Emerging Countries (Discussion Paper). Bonn: German Development Institute. ISBN 978-3-88985-661-6. ISSN 1860-0441. 35/2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
- Social Change in Latin America Today: Its Implications for United States Policy By Richard N. Adams, John P. Gillin, Allan R. Holmberg, Oscar Lewis, Richard W. Patch, and Charles Wagley, with an Introduction by Lyman Bryson. (New York: Published for the Council on Foreign Relations by Harper & Brothers, 1960, p. 25.
- The Farm Index, August 1964, p. 19.
- O livro no Brasil sua história By Laurence Hallewell, 2005, p. 715.
- Area Handbook for Brazil By Thomas E. Weil, American University (Washington, D.C.). Foreign Area Studies, 1975, p. 186.
- Economic Survey of Latin America 1969 By United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (author), 1969, P.388
- Manufacturing Miracles Paths of Industrialization in Latin America and East Asia 2014, p. 196.
- Area Handbook for Mexico By Thomas E. Weil, 1975, P.116-117
- "Latin America's middle class". The Economist. 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- Balzer, Harley D., ed. Russia's Missing Middle Class: The Professions in Russian History (ME Sharpe, 1996).
- Banerjee, Abhijit V. and Esther Duflo (December 2007). What is middle class about the middle classes around the world? (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Economics. p. 50. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
- Blackbourn, David, and Richard J. Evans, eds. The German Bourgeoisie: Essays on the Social History of the German Middle Class from the Late Eighteenth to the Early Twentieth Century (1991).
- Cashell, Brian W. Who Are the "Middle Class"?, CRS Report for the Congress, 20 March 2007
- Dejung, Christof, David Motadel, and Jürgen Osterhammel, eds. The Global Bourgeoisie: The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire (2019) scholarly essays covering major countries and region s in 19th century excerpt Archived 2022-05-21 at the Wayback Machine also chapters online Archived 2021-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
- Jones, Larry Eugene. "'The Dying Middle': Weimar Germany and the Fragmentation of Bourgeois Politics." Central European History 5.1 (1972): 23–54.
- Kocka, Jürgen. "The Middle Classes in Europe," Journal of Modern History 67#4 (1995): 783–806. doi.org/10.1086/245228. online Archived 2021-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
- Kocka, Jürgen, and J. Allan Mitchell, eds. Bourgeois Society in 19th Century Europe (1992)
- Lebovics, Herman. Social Conservatism and the Middle Class in Germany, 1914–1933 (Princeton UP, 2015).
- López, A. Ricardo, and Barbara Weinstein, eds. The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History (Duke University Press, 2012) 446 pp. scholarly essays
- McKibbin, Ross. Classes and Cultures: England 1918–1951 (2000) pp 44–105.
- Mills, C. Wright, White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951).
- Pilbeam, Pamela. The Middle Classes in Europe, 1789–1914: France, Germany, Italy, and Russia (1990)
- Wells, Jonathan Daniel. "The Southern Middle Class," Journal of Southern History, Volume: 75#3 2009. pp 651+.
- Williams, E. N. "Our Merchants Are Princes": The English Middle Classes In The Eighteenth Century" History Today (Aug 1962), Vol. 12 Issue 8, pp548–557.
- Fry, Richard; Kochhar, Rakesh (11 May 2016). "Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator". Pew Research Center.
- Beazley reaches out to 'middle Australia'
- NOW on PBS: Middle Class Insecurity Are politicians listening to middle-class families on the edge of economic collapse?
- Contains estimates on the size of the middle class in various countries
- Contains estimates on the size of the middle class in Latin America and other countries
- Contains Contains estimates on the size of the middle class in Africa, based on various definitions