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04/03/2013

Keep it classy, Britain!

Kate
Kate and Wills are definitely part of the upper class. (John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Your accent. Where you went to school. What newspaper you read. Even what grocery store you shop at.

Those factors -- and, of course, others like income, job and family -- used to be some of the clues that would help determine where you fit in Britain's social strata.

And it was pretty simple. You were either upper class (Prince William), middle class (Kate Middleton, before she got married), or working class (most of the folks on "Coronation Street.")

Class can be a touchy subject in the U.K.: there's resentment over privileges bestowed on the elites; disgust at the snobbery; discomfort over slotting people into categories. And so U.K. governments, including the current one, have declared social mobility is an Important Thing. Away with the class divide!

But after a survey of about 160,000 people, U.K. researchers have determined that what the country needs is actually more classes.

So instead of the big three, these researchers have determined there are now seven. At the top of the pile, still, are the elites. At the bottom is a group called the "precariat" -- a mix of proletariat and precarious. In the middle, a bunch of middles.

Here's the BBC story explaining the new stratas. These new classes are determined by different factors, including what your interests are, who your friends are, whether you own your home and if you have any savings.

You can also figure out -- kind of; it's unsurprisingly U.K.-centric -- where you'd fit using the BBC's class calculator.

Class dismissed.

Jennifer Quinn is a foreign affairs and investigative reporter at the Star. As a journalist with the Associated Press, based in London, she wrote extensively about British politics. Follow her on Twitter @JQStar.

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