In the Lithuanian society class divisions are low-key. Members of very different affluence levels more usually than not live in the same neighborhoods, buy at the same shopping malls and send their children to the same public (rather than private) schools. Complex history, where classes were frequently shuffled by various occupational forces, played a part in this.
The influential elite of Lithuania consists of several very different groups. The first group is that of the so-called "Soviet nomenclature". To the dismay of 1990s independence activists many of these remained in powerful positions, continuing their old practice of conformism with whoever is in power and reciprocal cronyism. With the collapse of the Soviet Union many of them have switched their ideals to pro-European Union (as this is where the new winds are blowing). Slow lustration meant that unlike in some other ex-communist countries the people of Lithuania were not informed on who served totalytarian institutions during the Soviet occupation. The former "nomenclature" is typically reluctant to show off its wealth as this would attract unwanted attention and questions.
After independence the Soviet "nomenclature" was joined in the competition for the political power by the former independence activists (mainly intellectuals). In vying for economical power, the "nomenclature" was in some sectors outcompeted by 1990s self-made men who established retail, import/export and other businesses in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as privatised those Soviet "businesses" that the "nomenclature" didn't want. As the new opportunities were most eagerly grabbed by people in their 20s and 30s the Lithuanian millionaire community of the era was younger than in many other countries. In the early 1990s people were eager to put their newly acquired wealth into large suburban homes and expensive cars, but with time this trend diminished, although a constant and stable group of Lithuania's rich "elite" publicises their endevours in socialite magazines.
Relative lack of labour-intensive industries means that there are quite few industrial workers in Lithuania. Labor unions are generally weaker than in the western Europe and they suffer a certain image problem as a part of society associates them with the former Soviet regime (when the state was both the only true employee and the real power behind the puppet labour unions). Businessman, on the other hand, are skeptical of the labour unions because of the situations when their leaders mobilize the unions for their own personal gain rather than that of the workers.
Traditional intellectuals may be considered another class that consists of teachers, doctors, scientists and classical artists. Loyal intellectuals were supported by the Soviet regime, moreover, their jobs used to be the most prestigious ones as they offered access to various other people. This access was more important than money in the Soviet society where many goods could have been obtained only through personal relations with some official responsible for distribution. After independence the education and healthcare remained public rather than private (leading to mediocre salaries) while classical art failed to attract enough customers to be commercially viable. Therefore some intellectuals, while deeply critical of the Soviet totalitarism, believe that the current system is treating them unfairly. However, it may be so that a significant part of this group has failed to adapt, with (for example) universities still choosing which research projects to undertake based on personal relations with the scientists, which impedes the will of private companies to fund these projects.
Other significant force in the society are the peasants. Some 12% of the workforce is in agriculture, but this is diminishing as agriculture turns into another form of business, partly funded by the European Union money and impossible without sacrifying workforce numbers for technology and economies of scale. Emotional peasant protests against government policies and roadblocks by farming equipment of 1990s are therefore a thing of the past, replaced by other forms of lobbying.
Retired people are generally less well-off than in the West due to former Soviet policies. There have been no pension funds in Lithuania, meaning that the current workforce (rapidly decreasing due to emmigration) is forced to pay the pensions to the entire retiree population (23% of all citizens). The old age pension is therefore relatively small but even this puts a great strain on the economy, pushing the state to borrow money at high costs. Additionally the Soviet thought-frames imposed on every age group still limit retired people's lifestyle. For example, unlike in the West, it is uncommon for old Lithuanians to travel abroad as many consider themselves to be too old and unhealthy for this. Perhaps due to lack of safety during their lifetimes most retirees are saving a large share of their incomes (in their home rather than in the mistrusted banks). This further reduces the actual disposable incomes of the retirees and leads to sad stories when these savings are stolen by con-artists specializing at this.
A certain underclass, so-called asocial people, exits living on benefits and criminal activity. Many of them are dependant on drugs and alcohol. Among the criminals there is their own division into castes, largely inherited from the Russian and Soviet prison system.
The youth is generally more westernized than their parent or grandparent generations and the old social divisions give way to the new ones that are common in the Western Europe.
Historical classes, such as the nobility, are completely meaningless, as they were stripped of their final benefits some 100 years ago. Subsequently the Soviets completely destroyed their culture and remaining landholds.
Women are prominent in Lithuanian public life, making up more than 49% of the labour force (a larger share than in every single Western European, Northern European and continental American country). Female suffrage dates to the very first democratic elections in Lithuania (Great Seimas of Vilnius, 1905).