The upper middle class is a sociological concept referring to the social group constituted by higher status members of the middle class.
In the social sciences a social group has been defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity.
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This is in contrast to the term "lower middle class", which is used for the group at the opposite end of the middle class stratum, and to the broader term "middle class".
In developed nations across the world, the lower middle class is a sub-division of the greater middle class.
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There is considerable debate as to how the upper middle class might be defined.
According to sociologist Max Weber the upper middle class consists of well-educated professionals with graduate degrees and comfortable incomes.
Postgraduate education, or graduate education in North America, involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees, academic or professional certificates, academic or professional diplomas, or other qualifications for which a first or bachelor's degree generally is required, and it is normally considered to be part of higher education.
Income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents, and other forms of earnings received... in a given period of time."
Maximilian Karl Emil "Max" Weber was a German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, political economist and the husband of Marianne Schnitger.
The American upper middle class is defined similarly using income, education and occupation as the predominant indicators.
In the United States, the upper middle class is defined as consisting mostly of white-collar professionals who not only have above-average personal incomes and advanced educational degrees but also a higher degree of autonomy in their work.
The main occupational tasks of upper middle class individuals tend to center on conceptualizing, consulting, and instruction.