Middle class growth stretches wealth gap

05 May 2006
More than four in ten Brits claim to be middle class, as the wealth gap between the middle and lower classes hits £104,000, according to a new survey.

The 'Middle Britain' study by financial services group Liverpool Victoria reveals that the number of people who consider themselves to be middle class is 44 per cent higher than in 1966.

Nearly 85 per cent of the middle class owns a home and an individual in this class is 77 per cent more likely than a member of the working class to own a property outright.

Yet class divides are less clear cut than ever before, as some 1.84 million so-called middle class members find themselves in the bottom 20 per cent in terms of asset wealth and some of the top fifth richest Brits consider themselves working class.

Head of corporate communications at Liverpool Victoria, Nigel Snell, said: "Classical definitions of class are changing, with financial measures such as income, investments and property assets becoming as significant as where you live or your education."

The 43 per cent middle class band has higher average personal debt – excluding mortgages – than the 53 per cent in the lower classes: £3,267 compared to £2,770, though the latter equates to a higher debt burden because of lower income.

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