A new measure of social classes
Social classes' ‘way we live’ values remain a major influence on consumers' retail store choices, their brand choices for major durables, and their use of health services and pharmaceutical products. Social class, however, has been neglected in modern theories and research in consumer behavior, probably because of the difficulty of implementing a proper sociological measure of social class distinctions coupled with the realization that convenient sociodemographic measures of social class are not a valid substitute for the sociological measure. A new 34-item values-based measure of social class is presented in this article, called the Social Class Values Index (SCVI). The SCVI efficiently distinguishes the six traditional social-class strata that are based on attributed social prestige and contributes to the first known measure of the non–prestige-based, largely self-actualized ‘X’ class. The SCVI is interviewer-administered and is easily profile-scored from simple binary answers.