Social inequalities formed three distinct social classes during the nineteenth century for the British society, which are the upper class, the middle class and the lower class, but in the United States, six distinct social classes are identified: upper class, new money, middle class, working class, working poor and poverty level (SparkNotes.com).
The upper class in British society is composed of the “rich” people who include the aristocrats by inheritance, as well as those individuals who “achieved” living standards that are comparable to the former, such as businesspeople, industrialists and professional experts (Cody). American society, however, splits the upper-class category according to “how” they earned their wealth: 1) the aristocrats or the “upper class” who inherited their wealth, and 2) the “new money” social class who are not born with a golden spoon in their mouths and “earned” their finances through their different business and/or professional efforts (SparkNotes.com). This distinction shows the difference between “inheriting” and “developing” one's upper class status.
Moreover, British social stratification shows that the workforce with respectable jobs and who are able to sustain an adequate standard of living are labeled as the “middle class”. This class also includes the “working class” (Cody)....
: the white-collar jobs holders with professional jobs are called the “middle class,” whereas those employed in technical and physical labor sectors belong to the “working class”
(SparkNotes.com). This division of the “middle” class differentiates the “learned” or “college-educated” middle class from the low-skilled and none-college-educated middle class. Finally, British society’s “lower class” includes people who are unable to sustain decent living standards and those that lie below the official poverty line that the government has established (Cody). The Americans classify this category again into two: the workforce laborers who are paid meager wages on jobs that do not involve extensive skill acquisition and whose income are still insufficient to meet the basic standard of living are called the “working poor,” while people who are poverty-stricken and have no source of income belong to the “poverty level” class (SparkNotes.com). The American society differentiates the working poor from the poor who are not part of the working class. Across all classes, significant differences are observed due to disparities in the classes’ political influence, educational standing and living standards. The upper class exercises more political power over other classes, due to their wealth and social, political, and economic connections. Similarly, the living standards and educational backgrounds degrade, as people go down the social class ladder in both American and British societies. Apparently, belonging to a certain social class will decrease or increase the chances of social class mobility. The middle class can become the upper class, because of their education and access to resources, but the working and poverty level class will have a hard