This growth of industry and rapid population growth dramatically changed the location and distribution of two resources—labor and people.

The Rise of New Social Classes

The Industrial Revolution helped create both a new middle class and a new urban working class. The middle class included entrepreneurs and others who profited from the growth of industry and the rise of cities. The middle class enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.

When farm laborers and others moved to the new industrial cities, they took jobs in factories or mines. In rural villages, they had strong ties to a community, where their families had lived for generations. In the cities, they felt lost and bewildered. In time, though, factory and mine workers developed their own sense of community.

The Lives of the New Middle Class

Those who benefited most from the Industrial Revolution were the entrepreneurs who set it in motion. The Industrial Revolution created this new middle class, or bourgeoisie (boor zhwah ZEE), whose members came from a variety of backgrounds. Some were merchants who invested their profits in factories. Others were inventors or skilled artisans who developed

new technologies. Some rose from “rags to riches,” a pattern that the age greatly admired. Middle-class families lived in well-built, well-furnished homes. In time, middle-class neighborhoods had paved streets and a steady water supply. These families dressed and ate well. The new middle class took pride in their hard work and their determination to “get ahead.” Only a few had sympathy for the poor.

As a sign of their new and improved status, middle-class women sought to imitate the wealthy women of the upper classes. They did not do physical labor or work outside the home. They hired maidservants to care for their homes and look after their children.

The Lives of the Working Class

While the wealthy and the middle class lived in pleasant neighborhoods, vast numbers of poor struggled to survive in foul-smelling slums. They packed into tiny rooms in tenements, or multistory buildings divided into apartments. These tenements had no running water, only community pumps. Early industrial cities had no sewage or sanitation systems, so waste and garbage rotted in the streets.

Infographic titled social class changes in England.
Image Long Description

The expanding middle class included working-class people who found new opportunities because of industrialization.

Analyze Charts

Which class changed the least due to industrialization?


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments