“Middle Class” or “Middle-Class”? Learn if “Middle Class” Is Hyphenated

Marcus Froland

Do you ever wonder whether the phrase ‘middle class’ should be hyphenated? If so, you’re not alone. The term has been used for centuries, but it’s recently become a hot topic of debate.

In this article, we’ll explore the definition and history of the middle class, as well as the grammatical differences between ‘middle class’ and ‘middle-class.’ We’ll also discuss the benefits of hyphenating this phrase and dispel some common misconceptions about what it means to be part of the middle class.

Key Takeaways

  • The middle class refers to people with a comfortable income and lifestyle, typically between the top 20% and 40% of earners in the U.S.
  • Different countries have different definitions for the middle class, but it is generally associated with educated professionals and a good standard of living.
  • The grammatical difference between "middle class" and "middle-class" is that the latter includes a hyphen, which helps clarify that two words are being used and establishes a clearer distinction between different economic classes.
  • Hyphenating "middle class" eliminates ambiguity, helps distinguish between economic classes, and ensures accurate information and clarity for the audience.

Definition of Middle Class

You may be wondering what ‘middle class’ means. It generally refers to people who have a comfortable income and lifestyle. It’s typically between the top 20% and 40% of earners in the U.S.

Middle-class people usually earn enough money to afford necessary expenses like rent, food, utilities, transportation, and health care. This group is often seen as stable financially and not living paycheck-to-paycheck like lower classes do.

Middle-class individuals tend to have college degrees or specialized training that allows them to find more secure jobs with higher incomes than those without postsecondary education or training. They are also more likely to own their own homes compared to lower earners.

In short, middle class is an umbrella term for those who generally have financial security, but don’t necessarily experience extreme wealth.

History of the Term Middle Class

Historically, the term ‘middle class’ has been used to refer to a segment of society between the upper and working classes. The earliest references to the ‘middle class’ date back to the 16th century in England.

In the late 18th century, French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau used it as part of his social contract theory.

By the 19th century, when industrialization was taking off in Europe and North America, middle class had become a more commonly used term for those who could afford comfortable lives but weren’t wealthy enough to be labeled upper-class.

Today, different countries have different definitions for what constitutes middle-class; however, generally speaking it is usually associated with people who are educated professionals such as teachers or lawyers and have access to a range of goods and services that provide them with a good standard of living.

Grammatical Difference Between Middle Class and Middle-Class

The grammatical difference between ‘middle class’ and ‘middle-class’ is that the latter includes a hyphen, while the former does not. The use of a hyphen has its benefits: it can help to clarify meaning and break up words for easy reading.

Here are some advantages to using a hyphen in the phrase ‘middle-class’:

  • It eliminates ambiguity by making it clear that two words are being used instead of one.
  • It allows readers to recognize the boundaries of each word more quickly.
  • It helps establish a clearer distinction between classes with different economic levels.
  • It reduces confusion when dealing with other terms like middle-income or middle-level.
  • It can make sentences easier to read, which improves overall comprehension.

Ultimately, whether you choose to use ‘middle class’ or ‘middle-class’, both are correct ways of referring to this socio-economic group. However, if you want to ensure your audience understands your meaning and reads your writing easily, then adding the hyphen might be best for clarity’s sake!

Benefits of Hyphenating Middle Class

Adding a hyphen to ‘middle-class’ can have numerous benefits. It eliminates ambiguity and helps readers distinguish between classes with different economic levels. Clear communication is essential when discussing sensitive topics like socioeconomic status. By utilizing the hyphen in ‘middle-class,’ it makes it easier to identify those in this category and reduces confusion. It also allows for greater precision when making distinctions between the middle class and other social or economic brackets. This increased clarity ensures that everyone has accurate information. Overall, using a hyphen for ‘middle-class’ improves comprehension for all involved.


You now know the difference between middle class and middle-class.

Hyphenating the term can make it easier to read, and help distinguish between its multiple meanings.

It’s important to remember that being in the middle class doesn’t mean you’re not wealthy or poor – it simply means you have access to certain resources.

Don’t let misconceptions about what it means to be ‘middle-class’ lead you astray – embrace your unique situation and use it to your advantage!