1) Could imply social standing, as being the most important people (eg. by holding parish offices) in that location.
There are contexts in which it is clear that ‘inhabitants’ had implications beyond what we usually take to be this word’s meaning: 1629 doth covenant ... to doe suite and service ... keepe all reasonable orders paines and bylawes ... pay all fines amerciamentes ... for the common good of the Freeholders, tenants and Inhabitants, Buckden. In The Parish Chest, W.E. Tate wrote that both legislators and judges had long harboured a notion that ‘inhabitants’ implied ‘chiefest’, ‘most substantiall’, ‘principal’ ... ‘having served parish offices’, and that certainly seems to fit its use in deeds, court rolls and the like.