This research uncovers the latent structure of subjective class identification in Taiwan. Latent class analysis is applied to data generated by three survey questions about class identification in the 1997 Taiwan Social Change Survey. These three survey questions differ in terms of the number of class labels offered and the presence of the choice of “working class.” The analysis discovers a latent structure of subjective class identification that consists of five latent subjective classes and a latent category consisting of people who have no clear class awareness. The five latent subjective classes can be labeled as latent upper-middle class, latent middle class, latent lower-middle class, latent working class, and latent lower class.
Different experiences in the labor market and the workplace tend to generate different perceptions as among men and women regarding their positions in the class structure. Job characteristics related to objective class positions also have different impacts for men and women. The findings also suggest that the label of “working class” should be included in the survey question of subjective class identification. Working-class identification has strong connotation of being currently in the labor market and is associated with unskilled or skilled laborers and service workers.