From the TUC

Stuck in the middle with who? Our MiddleBritainometer results

06 Sep 2009, by in Labour market, Politics

Our MiddleBritainometer has been doing a great trade since we launched it. I’ve just been looking at the stats it’s thrown out, to see how close people are on average to guessing where they fit on the UK incomes spectrum.

Basically we’re not that great at it. On average, people placed themselves worse off than they really were by 15.6 percentage points.

Men were very slightly better at guessing than women (15.16 percentage points out, against a 16.53 percentage point underestimate for women). East Anglians, the Northern Irish, Londoners and South-Easterners had the biggest underestimates in their position on the scale, with East Midlanders, North Easterners and Scots getting closest to the mark.

This graph is quite interesting though. I cut the results by income decile, to see whether people’s actual position on the scale would have an influence on their perceived position. Unsurprisingly it does…

MiddleBritainometer results - graph showing downward trend

So whilst those lower down scale believe they’re doing better than they really are, it seems that the higher your income, the more likely you are to believe you’re worse off than you really are. Nobody seems to want to think they live too far from that elusive Middle Britain.

I (don't) know my place...

More reading: Stewart Lansley has a guest post here about what this all shows us about attitudes to income inequality.

Methodology: A bit more detail in this download. Big caveats here. Once I’d cut out the top and bottom deciles from the data (unfortunately we’ve no official stats for measuring their placement properly), I was left with a sample of 2,017 people, who took the MiddleBritainometer test over the course of this summer. So it’s a bit much to draw any hard conclusions out of this, especially as the samples get smaller for some of the regions, and it all falls firmly in the “bit of fun” category as regards scientific rigour. We are also relying on people to be honest in their guesses and stated salaries, but seeing as we cut off the obvious jokers, top and bottom extremes, and those recently returned from the Cote D’Azur, I think this would be pretty fair.

One Response to Stuck in the middle with who? Our MiddleBritainometer results

  1. When the rich feel poor! | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Sep 6th 2009, 12:07 am

    […] In addition, people have been found to have a very poor idea of where they rank in the income hierarchy. To find out how good individuals are at placing themselves, the TUC made a ‘MiddleBritainometer‘ inviting respondents to guess where they stand in the pay league. Over 2000 people have responded and their guesses can be compared with their actual position in the pay league in the results posted here. […]