The NRS social grades are a system of demographic classification used in the United Kingdom. They were originally developed by the National Readership Survey (NRS) to classify readers, but are now used by many other organisations for wider applications and have become a standard for market research. They were developed in the late 1950s and refined in following years and achieved widespread usage in 20th century Britain. Their definition is now maintained by the Market Research Society.
The distinguishing feature of the NRS social grade is that it is based on occupation, rather than wealth or property ownership.
The classifications are based on the occupation of the head of the household.
|Grade||Social class||Chief income earner's occupation||Frequency in 2008||Frequency in 2016|
|A||Upper middle class||Higher managerial roles, administrative or professional||4%||4%|
|B||Middle middle class||Intermediate managerial roles, administrative or professional||23%||23%|
|C1||Lower middle class||Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial roles, administrative or professional||29%||28%|
|C2||Skilled working class||Skilled manual workers||21%||20%|
|D||Working class||Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers||15%||15%|
|E||Non-working||State pensioners, casual and lowest grade workers, unemployed with state benefits only.||8%||10%|
The grades are often grouped into ABC1 and C2DE; these are taken to equate to middle class and working class, respectively. Only around 2% of the UK population is identified as upper class, and this group is not separated by the classification scheme.
- Wilmshurst, J. & MacKay, A., The Fundamentals of Advertising, (1999)
- Occupation groupings: a job dictionary. Market Research Society Archived 29 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, London, 2006.
- "Social Grade: A Classification Tool" (PDF). Ipsos. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- "Social Grade | National Readership Survey". www.nrs.co.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- Glover, Julian (20 October 2007). "Riven by class and no social mobility - Britain in 2007". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 October 2009.