A Multivariate Indicator to Compute Middle Class Population

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This paper introduces a multivariate method to identify the middle classes that takes into account income, as a proxy of living standards, with other socio-economic features of individuals. To this aim, we have defined a synthetic indicator that considers scale, dummy and continuous variables. It is based on summarizing the sample information in a matrix data, the rows of which contain the social indicators related to each sample unit. The values of the proposed indicator will be used to identify who belongs to the middle class providing a closer idea about how social classes are formed. Examples for Spain, France and Italy illustrate our methodology. The data used, net equivalent disposable income, occupation and educational level, come from the European Survey of Income and Living Conditions for 2007, 2011 and 2014. The results for the period as a whole reveal that there has been an increase of the middle class but this rise is due mainly to the improvement of education and occupation categories to the detriment of the net equivalent disposable income.

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Fig. 1

Source: Our own elaboration from Table 2


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Correspondence to Rosa M. García-Fernández.

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Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Table 4 Size of the groups according to partial indicators.
Table 5 S80/S20.
Table 6 Percentage of poor in our middle class.
Table 7 Weights of the partial indicators.

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Sánchez-González, C., García-Fernández, R.M. A Multivariate Indicator to Compute Middle Class Population. Soc Indic Res 147, 1–14 (2020).

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  • Middle class
  • Synthetic indicator
  • Partial indicator
  • Data-driven weights