May 11, 2016

Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator

About half of American adults lived in middle-income households in 2014, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. In percentage terms, 51% of adults lived in middle-income households, 29% in lower-income households and 20% in upper-income households.

Our updated calculator below lets you find out which group you are in – first compared with other adults in your metropolitan area and among American adults overall, and then compared with other adults in the U.S. similar to you in education, age, race or ethnicity, and marital status.

Pew Research Center’s new analysis shows that the American middle class lost ground in the vast majority of metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2014, and the shares of adults in the lower- and upper-income ranks rose in most areas. There was more movement into the upper-income tier in about half the areas, while in the other half there was more movement downward.

Step 1: See where you are in the distribution of Americans by income tier. Enter the location that best describes where you live, your household income and the number of people in your household. The calculator adjusts for the cost of living in your area.

Household income before taxes:
People in my household:

Based on your household income and the number of people in your household, you are in the tktk income tier, along with tktk% of adults in tktk.

Share of adults in each income tier in your metro area and in the U.S.
Share of American adults
in each income tier

Step 2: Now compare yourself to others in the U.S. with your demographic profile

Less than high school
High school graduate
Two-year degree/Some college
Bachelor's degree or more
18 to 29
30 to 44
45 to 64
65 or older
Other or multiracial
Marital status
Not married

Among all American adults with your education, age, race or ethnicity, and marital status, tktk% are lower income, tktk% are middle income and tktk% are upper income.

Our new analysis shows that the American middle class lost ground in the vast majority of metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2014, and the shares of adults in the lower- and upper-income ranks rose in most areas. There was more movement into the upper-income tier in about half the areas, while in the other half there was more movement downward.

The calculator takes your household income and adjusts it for the size of your household. The income is revised upward for households that are below average in size and downward for those that are above average. This way, each household’s income is made equivalent to the income of a three-person household (the whole number nearest to the average size of a U.S. household, which was 2.5 in 2014).

Pew Research Center does not store or share any of the information you enter.

Your size-adjusted household income and the cost of living in your area are the factors we use to determine your income tier. Middle-income households – those with an income that is two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income – had incomes ranging from about $42,000 to $125,000 in 2014. Lower-income households had incomes less than $42,000 and upper-income households had incomes greater than $125,000 (all figures computed for three-person households, adjusted for the cost of living in a metropolitan area, and expressed in 2013-14 dollars).

The cost-of-living adjustment for an area was calculated as follows: Jackson, Tennessee, is a relatively inexpensive area, with a price level that is 17% less than the national average. The Hawaii metropolitan area known as Urban Honolulu is one of the most expensive areas, with a price level that is 22.5% higher than the national average. Thus, to step over the national middle-class threshold of $42,000, a household in Jackson needs an income of only about $34,600, or 17% less than the national standard. But a household in Urban Honolulu needs a reported income of about $51,000, or 22.5% more than the U.S. norm, to join the middle class.

The income calculator encompasses 229 of 381 metropolitan areas in the U.S., as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. If you live in an area outside of one of these 229 areas, the calculator reports the estimates for your state.

The second part of our calculator asks you more questions about yourself, such as age, race or ethnicity, and marital status. This allows you to see how other adults who are similar to you demographically are distributed across lower-, middle- and upper-income tiers in the U.S. overall. It does not recompute your economic tier.

Note: Previous versions of this post and interactive calculator were published Dec. 9, 2015. Both have been updated to reflect the Center’s new analysis.

Related: Are you in the global middle class? Find out with our income calculator

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Socioeconomic Class

  1. Photo of Richard Fry

    is a senior researcher focusing on economics and education at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Rakesh Kochhar

    is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    My husband and I enjoyed this, thank you. It was helpful during our discussion of refinancing and whether to switch from a 20 year loan to a 15.

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    Hello i am Tara Johnson,i live in Lawton U.S.A and i am a single mom,i had financial problem and it was very bad but thank God for this private lender Mrs Shenelle Williams who helped me with a loan of 50,000usd and now we are good all thanks to Mrs Williams.
    if you know that you are in need of an urgent loan i would advise you to contact Mrs Shenelle Williams at
    Thank You And God Bless

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    This was wonderful. I would also like to know in addition to the information you have already provided I would like to know how many people in my age group and education are only making $8,600 a year basically living in abject poverty I am 53 years old

  4. Leah Poland-Hooker1 year ago

    What I can’t understand is, my parents are considered low income according to this, but they make too much to rent at a low income apartment anywhere in this area.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Tell them to get better jobs. Or they should have invested better earlier.

  5. Anonymous1 year ago

    Watch “Requiem for the American Dream” and listen to the clear words of Noam Chomsky.

  6. Anonymous1 year ago

    to get to the middle income level according to this program I had to put in 1 milion dollars a year for pretax income. Really?

  7. Anonymous1 year ago

    I just can not understand the problem with isreal and palestine….just what exactly are they fighting over they have land and homes and jobs and families…why fight and kill all the time…they both have their own set up governments. As far as isreal is concerned there are probably more jews in America then in isreal…..I understand that after world war II the world powers felt guilty about the houlocost…but the way they solved or tried to solve the proplem was obviously a hugh mistake. I feel that America is the new home for the jews so why fight over some desolate land in the middle east…all the senseless killing just doesny make any sense to me and I am quite sure it doesn’t make any sense to god.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Huh? Wrong place for this comment!

    2. Leah Poland-Hooker1 year ago

      Makes sense to me, but not on the subject at all.

  8. Anonymous1 year ago

    Clearly based on unrealistic models and does not take into consideration many things.

  9. Anonymous1 year ago

    the calculations do not take into account assets, ie 2 million plus

  10. Anonymous1 year ago

    I feel these numbers are low and don’t reflect the real cost of living. I am 55 year old single mom living in L.A. I lost my 150,000 year job 4 years ago, and haven’t found another one. It appears I won’t. I have gone through six-figures in savings. I can’t afford health insurance. It looks hopeless in terms of my once bright future. My son is only 12, and it looks like we will have to rely on grants and scholarships to get him through college. I have lived in my home 19 years, and it looks like I will have to sell the home and become a renter after over 25 years of being a homeowner. I fear by the time I am technically “retired”, I will be living in poverty. I have always worked, and very much want to work. I have never felt as hopeless about America and its future as I do now.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      You’ve went through 6 figures in savings in 4 years?! WTF are you buying?! That’s like 2 g’s a month!! Sorry, not sorry. Don’t feel bad for you one damn bit.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        So, she didn’t say how much her savings was, but let’s say that it was $150,000. If so, $150,000 divided equally by 48 months (4 years) is $3,125 a month, which isn’t much when you have a mortgage. If the next job she found only paid $44,000, even that $3,125 a month wouldn’t hold her to the same standard of living she had before. So she probably wasn’t buying anything, she was probably scaling back to the barest minimums trying to keep her home, which is most people’s most valuable asset.

        What kind of world do you live in where spending “2 g’s” ( I assume that means $2000) a month on living expenses is considered excessive? That’s nearly my mortgage, and our family’s income is $75,000 and we have four children! I couldn’t imagine living on only “2 g’s” a month. That would be abject poverty.

  11. Anonymous1 year ago

    Middle class will be non existant in 10 yrs the way the world is going. Costs continually rising and wages stagnant or falling. We will be either rich or poor and unfortunately I will be in the latter group. Not much hope for me in my “golden years” which are closer than I imagined just a few short years ago.

  12. Anonymous1 year ago

    What is the $$ effect of M&A on the middle class

    The cost cutting after M&A seems to hit HR Engr Support Accounting IT Legal middle class jobs

    Who benifits from the cost savings
    . Wall Street ? CEO’s

    I have never seen this published

    How much middle income was lost to Wall Street last yr??

  13. Mickey Cashen1 year ago

    The calculator does not consider:
    1. if I own $5M in gold or no-dividend stocks from which I get no income or if I have $500K in loans.
    2. if I own a mortgage-free home or am renting;
    3. if my employer subsidizes my health insurance or not.

    Someone who owned $500,000,000 in gold, with no income, would be considered lower class by this calculator. That’s a MAJOR flaw!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      You guys are confusing high net-worth with income. This is an income calculator which uses income as a basis for specifying class. If you want an understanding of high net-worth then look at a high net-worth calculator. This is why the rich get richer. The average person gets caught up in the semantics of wealth as opposed to making/creating wealth with little to now money. Personally, I was a millionaire at 35yrs. I didn’t have a 6 figure job (45k) nor did I inherit my money. I lived below my means; saved all I could; studied investing and business; and invested in various opportunities. I also had 4kids and a ridiculous amount of student loan debt.

  14. Anonymous1 year ago

    The calculator does not consider:
    1. if I own $5M in gold or no-dividend stocks from which I get no income or if I have $500K in loans.
    2. if I own a mortgage-free home or am renting;
    3. if my employer subsidizes my health insurance or not.

    Someone who owned $500,000,000 in gold, with no income, would be considered lower class by this calculator. That’s a MAJOR flaw!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Wrong. It doesn’t ask if the income is passive or earned; it asks for household income.

      You’ve read into the process that which isn’t there.

  15. Anonymous1 year ago

    This also doesn’t keep in mind inherited wealth and existing assets! As someone who works with wealthy young adults, many choose work low wage jobs but supplement through a trust fund or parental support.

  16. Anonymous1 year ago

    This doesn’t take into account debt, and most importantly student loan debt. Our household income puts us just shy of being middle class but we are knocked down pretty fast when you take into account or collective student loan debt of $200K and a monthly payment of $1000+.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      how can you be lower class with 200k of student loan debt? 200k in student loans infers you and spouse have college degrees. must be more to your story. r u very young or r u unemployed?

      1. Bebe B1 year ago

        College degrees unfortunately does not mean high income anymore

  17. Anonymous1 year ago

    this is great news

  18. bernard r. jacobs1 year ago

    I think you should have another classification that is retired couples like us who
    Are members of the area…I am retired with a income of $85,000…I own my house
    Have good health, long term insurance ..d not owe anyone…
    I think I am better off then some younger couple with the same income…we are
    88 years old

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Of course you are. What’s your point?

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Don’t be mean!

      2. Anonymous1 year ago


  19. Anonymous1 year ago

    Thank you for the very interesting research. The trend lines are disturbing in many locations. I do not think that most of the political elite understand the difference between “free trade” versus “fair trade”. I propose that the US needs to start thinking and implementing “fair trade” – by this I mean if a trading country with which the US is exchanging products, services, and/or payments does abide by reasonable and appropriate environmental and labor practices that US business do abide by then I would determine what are external costs the non-abiding trading partner is causing. These external costs could be tariffs placed on the trading partner’s products and services. The point is have a more level playing field in the world’s trading marketplace.

    Another part of the problem is the decline in the general quality of the primary and secondary education in many locations and I would think much of this decline can be traced to the decline in the property tax base, such as when manufacturing concerns shut down and ship the machinery overseas and thus the local tax is hit with a major loss in tax revenue that supported the public schools.

    George Siekkinen

  20. ruben gonzalez1 year ago

    There are some really good comments here. Some funny and some flat out rude…Anyhoo, according to this I’m upper class living in Santa Barbara. Great, right? But, I’m Mexican, single, and never finished college. So! I’m lower class. I don’t own a landscaping company with illegal immigrants for employees. Zero offense on that comment but, I can hear the racist bs already. I don’t even speak Spanish and my family has been here for generations AND the cousins I have born in Mexico are doctors, teachers, business owners, etc. Where’s the algorithm?

    Honestly, I think this is kind of a click bait article. Fun though if you don’t take it personal

    1. Carl Fuglein1 year ago

      Why do you consider yourself Mexican if your family has been in America for generations? You should consider yourself an American.

      Not directed at you, specifically, but why aren’t ALL of us (that are here legally) Americans? My heritage may be German, Scottish, and English, but I’m an American through and through. I’ve traced part of my heritage in America to 1730, and the last one to come to America was 1892. Why do people insist that they are Indian-American or African-American or Mexican-American or Asian-American? If you were born here, you are an AMERICAN. If you immigrated to here legally, you are an AMERICAN. We need to pull together, regardless of our heritage and fix American, not deliberately separate ourselves into different groups. Sure, you can celebrate your heritage, but you’re still an American first. {/rant}

      1. Anonymous1 year ago


        1. Bruce Pringle1 year ago

          “We may have all come on different ships but were in the same boat now…” Martin Luther King

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        I agree.
        “But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag…” Theodore Roosevelt

        “We may have all come on different ships but we’re in the same boat now…” Martin Luther King

      3. Anonymous1 year ago

        I agree we are all (North) Americans but I cannot deny that opportunity and education is different for those of us that are not white Americans. This difference is a part of the different algorithm. It would be different also if based on gender.

  21. Anonymous1 year ago

    The calculator doesn’t allow me to enter my true metro area, Madison, Wisconsin’s second largest.

  22. Anonymous1 year ago

    “Washington-Arlington-Alexandria” are NOT metro areas of WEST Virginia. They are of the plain, boring Virginia 😉

    1. Richard Fry1 year ago

      My understanding is that Jefferson County, West Virginia is part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. This is why Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is listed as one of West Virginia’s metropolitan areas.

  23. Anonymous1 year ago

    To what extent does out right home ownership play in determining middle incomes? As a retired person owning our home out right played a big role in the decision to retire when we did.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Good question

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      This data is based on annual income, not weath. Home ownership is not relevant. Standard of living (class) is based mostly on income. But there are specific scenarios, like retirement, where your ability to turn assets into cash (and not have it count as income), or to use your assets to avoid spending money (like rent), will make class comparisons problematic. In particular this limits the use of standard of living to inform race comparisons, as minorities have additional constraints on the ability to amass assets and leveraging assets to avoid costs.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Simple. Just calculate how much it would cost to rent your house yearly and add that as potential income to compare to younger people that do not yet own a home.

  24. Dan Hughes1 year ago

    In our area middle class for one person according to this is $21,000 to $62,000. The difference in quality of life between these two incomes makes this info meaningless.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Completely, an irrelevant “calculator”–for a single person living in Chicago it claims $25,000-$77,000 per year is “middle class”; I have lived here at $25,000 per year and can tell you having an extra $52,000 per year would be a whole different lifestyle.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Doubling anyone’s income would radically change their lifestyle, so that’s irrelevant to analyzing income based on grouping by low, middle and high. You are in the middle grouping of all incomes across all people. Yet people who make the same income as you may live radically different from you for other reasons having to do with their ability to leverage other assets, have fewer costs, etc. Having the same income or similar income levels does not indicate how one lives. It’s a general indicator of what different lifestyles are possible for that person. And to that end is relevant and useful.

  25. Anonymous1 year ago

    and not socking away money for the future.

  26. Anonymous1 year ago

    The Republican power in Congress is achieving its goals. Fewer middle income people with fewer benefits and more affluent people keeping what they have and getting more. The rest are getting what they deserve. God Bless America.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      This was the goal of the Reagan Revolution although the enlisted troops did not realize it.

  27. Anonymous1 year ago

    I wonder why they lumped Samoans, Filipinos, and other low culture Asians in with the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      “low culture Asians?” Indians also count as Asians, it’s based on the continent not outdated superiority complexes. Filipinos and Samoans probably count as pacific islanders though.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      What a racist comment! Low culture Asians? Sounds like you have no class and no culture!

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      As a Japanese American, I’m happy to be lumped with FELLOW Asians.

  28. Anonymous1 year ago

    My family makes about $182,000 a year and focuses on saving. Everything is paid off and we’re about to buy a new truck with one lump sum payment. It’s all about saving people.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      So what happens when you are unable to earn the same (no income or half the income) for over 3 years and eat up your savings, encounter health issues and expenses galore? Life happens and you realize that money is not God, God is God. God, family, friends and then work. All important but in that oirder

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        There are issue that affect your finance that you can’t control & you are at the mercy of the whims of fate. But there are plenty of time, you have partial control & your result is mostly do to hundred of past decisions. Did you decide to skimp health insurance? Did you cut back spending immediately once you income was hit? Did you save up a reserve pile to give you the ability to move, retrain, or do a broader job search? Did you load yourself down with monthly money parasites?
        You’re not a black Nigerian girl kidnapped by Boko Haram. You control over your life is magnitudes better.

        You are right that money is really minor compared to plenty of things & there are many wealthy people who live miserable & even pitiable lives.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I guess it’s pretty easy to save when your family makes $182000 a year. Congrats on being “frugal” enough to save for a truck.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        I don’t really think it’s as easy as you think. Most people’s lifestyle increases as they earn more – really, people tend to spend what they make. Obviously not living pay check to pay check makes saving possible, and if you make enough to live the way comfortably and still have extra you could. But it still takes motivation and determination to save vs. living lavishly or indulging more. Not only that, this guy has no debts. That’s pretty amazing and uncommon. My parents did the same thing. My dad never finished college but worked his way up in the petro chemical industry. Although they went from paycheck to paycheck living when I was a kid to making shit tons of money when I was going off to college, our lifestyle never changed. When we’d move my mom never wanted a bigger house, luxury cars, or expensive lavish things. My dad wanted a huge house on a golf course and trips and luxuries, but she kept him level headed and kept saving and being frugal like when they lived check to check. They retired at 55 with a fully paid of house and cars, no debt, set to continue their lifestyle till they die. They lucked out and lived the American Dream. My childhood friends parents make just as much, but made poor choices over the years and are riddled with credit card debt and still working at 65. Saving is not easy.

  29. Joe Schenck1 year ago

    I live is simple 2 bedroom 1 car garage town house how can i be in the upper %18 .

  30. KIM1 year ago

    our government is a giant parasite that needs it’s host’s to work till they drop dead. it is the most profitable and efficient way. many must suffer so Hillary and her pharmaceutical and banker friends/contributors can tan on the top deck of a luxury yacht in the Caribbean with the peace of mind they have knowing the typical voter is a moron who can be bought with his/her own money.

  31. Anonymous1 year ago

    there is something wrong with your—- it keeps saying fillin all the fields I do but it won’t calculate

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      fill it in at your own risk. Another way to collect information for their website along with your name.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Check the married or not field.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      This is most likely a sign that you are low income

  32. Anonymous1 year ago

    Income alone is not a determinant in terms of financial tier/class. The calculator should include a question about net worth and/or annual spending.

  33. Anonymous1 year ago

    The middle class is a whole lot smaller then what this calculator indicates. In my opinion
    the house hold income should be based on a single income not two.

  34. Anonymous1 year ago

    i am surprised did not know that my income would be in the middle. Both my wife and I are retired

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Are you and your wife from the porn industry?

  35. Anonymous1 year ago

    I am definitely not in the middle class because I draw less than $10,000/year in social security and there are 5 people in the household which only draws less that $20,000/year in social security. My stepdaughter works, but her hours are specially arranged to prevent her from working overtime. She also borrows against her check to buy cigarettes and snacks for her two boys who are under the age of five. Since my wife passed away in January, bills are fast pilling up and there seems no way out.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Stop buying cigarettes and get a new job!! Sorry…life is hard!

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Greetings –

      Just a suggestion, but even though you are retired, ‘get a job’ – Walmart, McDonalds, or better. Don’t let our pride stand in the way. There are lots of advantages. one you are contributing to the tax base and not taking from it. Two your bills are now based on your income, thus you can moderate bills to the percentage of your income Don’t allow yourself to be type-cast, emerge and get healthy financially.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Wow, a lot of assumptions on his ability to work. He’s retired, what if he’s not able bodied enough to work for McDonalds.. Perhaps he’s providing childcare for his step daughter’s children which saves far more money then taking a minimum wage job at McDonald’s. Give your fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt for a change. Most people want to work and have financial security. Our system is designed for a the few to profit off the backs of the many.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      go to consumer credit counseling and see if that helps.

  36. Judith L. Martin1 year ago

    I volunteer at a local senior center, and this is what I gather from what I hear: In the metro New Orleans-Metairie area, many of the people in the lower income range are senior citizen women who are living alone (widowed or never married). With their incomes limited to social security and small retirement accounts (actual retirement from a company; annuities), and the way property taxes, insurances, and costs of utilities are skyrocketing in the area, many of these women wonder, “How much longer can I afford to live in the home I love?” The next question is “If I have to give up living in the home I love, where am I to go?”

    They don’t want to move in with relatives if they can help it; they value their independence. They dread moving into senior citizen apartment buildings; having to look at old-old people around them is depressing. Most of all, they dread becoming physically and mentally unable to look after themselves, and being condemned to a nursing home. Not all the lower income people are where the researchers believe them to be.

  37. Anonymous1 year ago

    HMMM…. I find myself in a very comfortable situation though I don’t have a college degree but have found success. I’m single, make ten digits and live very comfortable. I’m currently 42 years old and my goal is to retire at 50. It has always been my goal. How did I do it, no bills other then your common ones. If I can’t pay for it in cash I don’t purchase it; yes I had to build credit but after it was said and done, fin. I do keep a credit card to pay bills and pay it off at the end of the month. REWARDS….. The quiz finds me to be in the upper class but I don’t have a spouse or children to spend money on, so, I save it. I’m with Curtis, I still have to work to reach my goal.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      You make ten digits?? That’s a billion a year

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        THANK you…

        ten digits. right.

  38. Anonymous1 year ago

    Goodness! Never seen so many rich people complaining about how poor they are in one place before!

    I think the issue is this: If you FEEL poor and the calculator says you’re upper or middle class, imagine how it must be for the people who are ACTUALLY considered to have lower class incomes. It’s all about relativity.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago


  39. Curtis Story1 year ago

    So you are saying that on average people making more than $125,000 are “upper class”?? That is absurd. Upper class is people with maids and only work if they want to, not because they need to. It might be higher income, but not “upper class”. “Middle class” has to work and has the potential to retire comfortably, “lower class” would be unlikely to have the chance to retire on their savings no matter what they do.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Yep I’d say $125,000 is upper class. You can’t find many of those jobs and it’s 2.5 times greater than that middle class guy making $50k per year…

      1. Brad Williams1 year ago

        But they are computing for the combined income at a three-person household. $125,000 is good but I don’t think it feels like “upper class” to such a family.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          Gentle man it’s good income

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      There is wide variation, depending on where you live. $125K in Redondo Beach (where I live) is very much in the middle of the tier – we have aerospace and universities nearby and a fairly well-educated populace. People in aerospace management positions make a fair amount more (probably over $200K depending) and even then, most of them would be in the upper-middle class band. But $125K in a more rural area might very well be upper class. Another way to look at it is in what the income can buy – here, $125K would not buy you a nice house, although a pretty nice townhouse might be within reach (but guess what? It’d be a stretch). But $125K would buy you a very nice house in many parts of the country. So Southern and Northern California, New York and a few other very high expenses areas do have much higher salary levels, but believe me, the tax burden is also higher (overall – income, property and sales) and what you can buy might be radically less than one would think.

  40. Anonymous1 year ago

    A fishing expedition for incomes, personal info?

  41. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is truly stupid! My salary is FAR below $250k a year… but I live in a relatively mid-priced area and have over $1 Million set aside for retirement, along with about $300K in equity in a home at the age of 51. Salary means little in determining middle class!

  42. Anonymous1 year ago

    One can enter gross incomes from $10,000.00 to $400,000.00 and obtain identical scores and results?????? You are employing a comical algorithm or it is sleeping !!!!

  43. Anonymous1 year ago

    Lets talk about the middle class of 1950 and compare to today as far as what was considered middle class then and now.

    1950 2016
    Size of average house 1150 sqft 2300 sqft
    # of Cars 1 2+
    Phone Service 1 land line Multiple cell phones
    Television Service Free Varies but not free

    The list can go on and on but our need for instant everything and over abundance in everything has skewed our view of middle class to where todays middle class life style exceeds the upper class life style of the 1950 – 1970’s.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      And, the 1950s middle class lifestyle exceeded the 1890s high class. If we go back far enough we can point to mud huts and dirt floors. If you have more than that, you’re living in excess.

      Those jerks in the 1950s sure we’re into instant gratification with their phones, TVs, radios, cars, etc. They lived in excess of their needs. Obviously telegraph, newspapers, books, and some shoes for walking is all that’s needed to be middle class.

      The need for 2 cars arose due to the need for dual income families. In the 1950s dual income families were uncommon. Present day, many families require that both parents work full-time jobs. It’s ridiculous to point to people and say they live in excess when it takes a family working twice as hard to be in middle class. If a single income doesn’t put you in the middle class, then you’re not 1950s middle class.

  44. Anonymous1 year ago

    Hey! It’s a Peeu Poll…what do you think??? Who pays attention to a Peeu Poll? The politicians that purchased it so they can influence society. Which politicians? The ones that want to fundamentally change the social structure of the country. To make sure the citizens stay agitated and divided so they can make laws to ‘help and protect’ them. Progressive, Socialist, Leftist Democrats and RINOs. The ones that will go to all extents to make you feel like an inadequate perpetual social victim…until they control all…then you will actually know what it is like to be an inadequate perpetual social victim.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Exactly what I have been thinking! Thank you!

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I entered 1.000.000 income and 125,000 keeping the household constant (2), the calculator produced the same answers. Than I fixed income at 125,000 and entered different numbers for the household – the answers remained unchanged

  45. Anonymous1 year ago


    I know, i’m “technically” middle income, but if I were “middle income”, I wouldn’t have to put my utilities (which happen to be realllllly low compared to everywhere else we’ve lived) on a credit card or live with my sister-in-law and her fiancé so that we all can split the cost of rent. We pay $900 for rent in Seattle which is a complete STEAL! and it’s no wonder we live in the ghetto and the house is falling apart.

    from the research I’ve done, to live comfortably in my area, a single family home would have to earn approximately $80,000 annually. My father-in-law makes approximately $150,000, and he considers himself in the middle income bracket because he no longer has to worry about money, but they still have to watch their spending. According to this test, he would be in the upper income bracket, but I promise you, he is not – not in Seattle. Perhaps in Tacoma, which happens to be nearly 40 miles away from South Seattle and has a completely different cost of living, but somehow this test puts Seattle and Tacoma in the same grouping.

    Analysis – the people and groups who conduct these kinds of test do not know what it really means to be in the lower income or middle income bracket. That leads our government to have a skewed idea of how the people of the United States are living and getting by. The reason Millennials are not investing in the stock market is because we have nothing to spend or save because they (the people creating these test and “statistics”) put us in the middle class and said “you’ll be fine”, but then the cost of living raises without anyone noticing or adjusting the income brackets.

  46. Anonymous1 year ago

    totally incompetent surveyors. too little info asked. no way to determine

  47. Anonymous1 year ago

    This report is mis-leading. There is a difference between “middle income” and “middle class”. “Middle Income” is a statistic that doesn’t mean very much, where as “middle class” is a life style. The middle class life style is almost gone. Financial experts have defined a “middle class” life style as households with incomes of $250,000. Most Americans now live as “lower class” individuals and families.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Exactly right.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Can you point to the research and data on this figure of $250,000?

  48. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is pure bull lol first my income is so heavily taxed they didn’t take in account that we get taxed at every turn at the store/gas pump/anywhere you pay your bills lol convenience charge your not lucky if you stay in a sales free state because they rape you then as well. not to mention paying income tax that is made up look up Federal reserve act of 1913 and the real purpose. Inflation is also a hidden tax and what’s so laughable is look at the prices of everything around you the price in 1980 was value higher than the prices now. the actual living wage in most places especially in high density areas should be 85 K for a single person. Our money is not backed by gold and not really oil anymore its useless as the federal reserve and congress. Wake up America the time is now, do as much research any from all sides of the spectrum to decide for yourselves what you want America to be doesn’t matter what side your on because we are all Americans and we all want peace prosperity and futures for ourselves and our children.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Damn right

  49. Anonymous1 year ago

    The word class is confusing for so many when used as a category comparing income. From the first great depression, the old saying goes, “I knew a lot of poor people with class and many more rich people with none”. If for some reason you are feeling the pressure of your location in the bigger picture just remember a little respect and consideration for others gives you all the class you will ever need to be truly successful.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Well said.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago


    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      well said

  50. Iq Ashamaniq1 year ago

    I am single, live 48% of the time with my son in the Bay Area CA, I make $126K/year, divorced paying $2300 rent for a small 2br hole in the wall and $650 child support.
    Just add the extra expenses and I’m over 4.5K a month.
    I don’t have student debt because I come from a European country where education is almost free so at the end of the day I have enough left for savings and live comfortably.
    There is NO way I am upper class.

    I wonder how my Mexican neighbors with 5 little girls do it???

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Welfare…your tax dollars at work!

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        You couldn’t afford to live in the Bay Area on welfare…

  51. Carlos Amigo1 year ago

    What a dumb survey …. They don’t ask you if you own your home, how much you have invested, what’s you positive net worth, what is your debt load, do you collect income other than your job etc. I find this amusing more than educational…

  52. Anonymous1 year ago

    This Quiz is garbage. Unless you take into account a person’s debt along with this information it won’t make sense to anyone. A graduate school professional making a good income is likely saddled with enormous debt out of College.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      They also need to ask how much of your income is from Social Security or other income from government programs. We are over 80. Both worked 40 years self-employed and 25 years while raising four children. Saved for retirement. We are upper class with great work ethic and lower income. One car, a jeep is 10 years old 2nd car Ford Escape 4 years old. We are citizens of America who do not want a free lunch. Want our tax dollars to quit going to Middle East where men won’t quit killing and destroying their country instead on building safe communities. And I would not allow one single man to immigrate to the U. S. They must fight for their own countries betterment.

  53. Anonymous1 year ago

    Living in the top taxed state with a government that can’t make a decision on a state budget for over a year.
    Living not knowing what tax increases we will have to deal with future, taxes such as distance to drive to work when we already pay $0.22 a gallon of gas for road tax and doesn’t even include the damage to my vehicle that is a consistent expense that is caused by roads that are not safe to drive on at the speed limit.
    These expenses are not included in the middle class evaluation.

  54. Anonymous1 year ago

    I live in Iowa. Your drop down has Omaha/Council Bluffs as the only metro area. Omaha is in Nebraska. Council Bluffs in on the west side of the state? It is the 9th largest city in the state. Not even the state capital? Just makes me wonder how many states have similar representation or worse in this study.

  55. Anonymous1 year ago

    I have the cure for all your ills, specially those worried about retirement and SS etc. with about $75.000 to $100.000 and a small pension or SS check, you can live like a king in paradise in many countries where there already exists many American communities. Places like, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and the lists goes on and on. Many of the Latin America work force in this country earning a measly $200 to $300 a wk are building their dream houses back home and they have realized that in the mean time they can survive here on charity for their clothing and food and the biggest expense which is rent is usually share by more than 1 family. I’m not telling you that you should live this way but that if you really want you can minimize debt. Learn to work the system after all is your tax dollars you don’t have to feel like you’re taking advantage.

  56. Anonymous1 year ago

    It would have been interesting for the study to show how the median income has changed over time. These are just numbers. Has the real quality of life changed? Are we living longer? Do we have more conveniences?

    Do the economic brackets consider that cell phones and cable TV are considered “essentials”? These are serious monthly expenses that most did not have even have 20 years ago. How many people choose to throw their hard earned $ towards those items and complain they can’t make ends meet?

  57. Anonymous1 year ago

    WHEW, that was close one!
    Didn’t study for the test and managed to pass…

  58. Anonymous1 year ago

    I work so I can be poor got to love it.

  59. Anonymous1 year ago

    Many of those retired, as I am, have had to spend a lot of money raising our children, schooling, etc. We have to maintain older homes, repairs are costly, everything goes up, and we get none or very little increases in SS. these are not entitlements, I have paid in since I was 12 years old!! Where is the extra help for us, who were the back-bone of this country since World War 11. Very few talk about our aging middle class. So sad!!!!

    1. Laura Thomas Boren1 year ago

      You’re correct – and you aren’t. We have all paid in to SS and yet, if we live the average age of today (upper 70s to early 80s), the amount we paid in will have been paid back PLUS a lot more, too. Basically, the SS system only works when there are many more current workers paying into the system for the current retirees. As you know, that multiple has decreased rather significantly, so that now instead of 12 or 20 current workers, we’re now down to something like 4 or less. This is purely a result of our living longer which is a good thing, but to say that we paid in to SS is to say yes, BUT not entirely. And by the way, the only folks for whom this doesn’t apply are those who die early. In the space of one year, I had 5 friends/colleagues pass away before the age of 60 (from various diseases and one suicide). And no, there was no check for their heirs of the amount they’d paid in over their working years – that amount just got added to the overall pool of money that would get paid out to other retirees, along with a host of new folks who drain the SS system (the children of folks who’ve died, the disabled, etc.).

  60. Anonymous1 year ago

    My wife and I work 50 hours a week and the kids are grown. Pay for a mortgage. We are considered upper class making $125k. Sure doesn’t feel like it. We have to save 40% to cover future medical and retirement.

    1. George Kurtus Hlass1 year ago

      Look at it this way: You may $75K pre-tax dollars and the 40% is free money that you receive.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      That is how the leaders of this country think. Any poll survey still uses out dated information.

  61. Anonymous1 year ago

    It’s the excessive and confiscatory tax policy of the U.S. Government. Depending on where you live, the state and local government thieves also toil away in the midnight hour dreaming up ways to get into your wallet. Tax rates, when you consider them collectively, approach 50%. When you think of all the nickel and dime local fees, taxes, sales taxes, you’re literally cleaned out. I live in Illinois, so the local and state cabals really drain your bank. I mean, think about this – if you had just a modest 20%-30% more in your pocket every month, wouldn’t it make you feel a bit better? We’re fleeced at every level of government. And we let it happen.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      I think you are correct, except for your statement of letting it happen. What can I do? The only real power I have, if you can call it that, is to vote. I do, and try to vote for the right people, but all are crooks. Aside from and armed and bloody revolution I don’t see the choice.

  62. Anonymous1 year ago

    Your numbers are completely F’D up!! Who the Hell seriously calculates their pretax income as their income they live on? I never see that money because someone has already taken their cut! If $32K is middle income, then why can I barely afford to rent with a slob for a roommate? Vacation? Forget about it! Being able to buy a vehicle less than 10 years old? What a joke. Middle Class my @$$!!!

  63. Anonymous1 year ago

    I don’t believe this information to be accurate. I’m a single senior citizen, who is still working, can’t retire because I know Social Security will not be enough to live on.
    There’s a storm coming (and it’s name is not Donald Trump); people are tired of living hand to mouth, working long hours for not enough pay.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      What is meant by,”There’s a storm coming?” Economic revolution or what?

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I am in total agreement with you except for the Donald Trump factor. I strongly feel he will add to the problem not fix it.

    3. Helena Boxer1 year ago

      You’ll be working a lot longer since Trump said American workers get paid too much.

  64. Anonymous1 year ago

    What is the definition of middle class is an individual perspective. I grew up poor to high school dropouts and now make $100,000+ so I feel blessed and satisfied with my average (according to survey) life. I think sometimes Americans feel entitled to more than what they should as a whole (new cars, toys, big homes, extravagant vacations). Watch the news and see life from a worldwide prospective, we have it pretty good here!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      right on

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      “Entitled to more than they should ” – So like, know your place? You mean, what makes you think you should have a family vacation, you welder? Yes, live within your means and all, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to experience new things or provide experiences for your kids. Some of us just have to save up longer to provide them. I don’t understand the point you are making, but I think going down this line of thinking can also be dangerous and encourage the “your not good enough for that” line of thinking.

  65. Anonymous1 year ago

    Class has little to do with income. It is about life attitudes, worldiness and philosphies. Plenty of plumbers and binmen would qualify as members of the middle classes on earnings and possessions but try and have a conversaton with them and see the intellectual content dry up after about 2 minutes. Americans think a middle class person is a working class person with money. A working class person with money is and always will be working class unless the attitudes change with the wealth. Half the middle classes are just snobbish working class people.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      What you refer to is what we used to call, “impoverished gentility”.

  66. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is bull. Whoever invented this is living on a different planet, or is a Democrat, Socialist or Communist.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      You are correct sir. Democrat=Socialist, Communist, Marxist. They will continue to tax us until it is 100%. Democrats disgust me.

  67. Anonymous1 year ago

    Debt is a key factor but how about whether or not you have a single or joint income. In two income homes there are often extra expenses in Child Care which drastically reduces gross income totals.

  68. Anonymous1 year ago

    if you live in new jersey, you will never have anything, your property tax always goes up, you receive nothing for it and the value of your house just keeps going down. Oh I forgot to mention, probably the most crooked state out of all 50. pave it and park here, thats all its good for

  69. Anonymous1 year ago


    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      then you are clearly doing something wrong

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      It all depends on how much you paying for rent/mortgage payment and the cost of your car payment (if you have one) Those are the two biggest expenses.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Start having kids. That’s how everyone gets their welfare.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        not everyone can get it even with kids

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      Did you over-buy on your house and car(s)? Over charged on your credit cards?

    5. Anonymous1 year ago

      I agree with you. I’m also single and live by myself. I have a college degree and make around $35k/ year and I constantly feel like I’m broke. By the time I pay my rent and student loans, over half of my monthly income is already gone.

    6. Anonymous1 year ago

      probably because you are paying some type of debt which is the American way but you are middle class with only yourself to take care of and you can’t do it on $48K. Most families of lower income would love to make that much, making $10 an hour is still $19,200 per year times 2 so a family of 3 or 4 living on less than $40,0000 and you can’t make it work. Try working with a budget and payoff some of the debt you have

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        $10 an hour @ 2080 hours a year ought to equal $20,800. Still…
        Ironic that the IRS form is 1040 given that 8X5X52=2080. Middle Class is a frame of mind devoid of the “I’m a victim” syndrome.

  70. Anonymous1 year ago

    Unfortunately the information from polls can be manipulated to get the results wanted just by the type of question asked, as consistently demonstrated by the political polls posted in the news.

    Greg Linkert

  71. Clara Griffin1 year ago

    The Middle Class has changed in the United States over the years. The nuclear family has also changed due to the number of single parent households. It is still good to be in the middle, but there are too many wealthy individuals who are not helping humanity enough. The power elite should not be running the country in my mind. These groups have no clue what it is like to be living day to day, raising children, and helping adult children who are in college or unemployed.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Probably because they made better choices. And it is not the wealthy/elite’s burden to help the needy. Also… If you can’t afford to have children, don’t have them.

  72. Anonymous1 year ago

    I tried, but the drop down lists for state and metro areas didn’t work.

  73. Clara Griffin1 year ago

    Middle class is very different today than in the 60’s or 70’s. The nuclear family has changed too. There are many single parent families now, more than ever before. I believe that being in the middle is still good, but the country has many wealthy individuals who have much more $.

  74. Anonymous1 year ago

    We live very comfortably. Home is paid for. And we manage to have breakfast with friends at least once a week. We don’t spend beyond our means. Pay credit cards off every month.

  75. Anonymous1 year ago

    While I would not consider us poor, we are not solid middle class. I can barely pay my moderate student loans and keep up with the credit cards we need to purchase necessities. A vehicular breakdown here, medical bills and a home repair there and we are in debt up to our eyeballs. We are sinking fast with little hope in sight. If it were not for the cheap cost-of-living in our area, we would already be out of our home. A new car is next to impossible. And, my job requires that I continue to attend school to keep my license… which is a great burden, even at the local state university. Middle class my eye…

  76. Anonymous1 year ago

    This research is way out of touch. Written by very well to do suit and tie’s. Garbage.

  77. Charlotte Beimler1 year ago

    So I’m middle class? I’m choking on my generic brand cheerios and tasteless generic home brewed coffee right now. This is a COMPLETE surprise to me! Seeing that we can’t seem to get ahead – no matter how much we cut back. We have no cable TV, no Starbucks, home hair cuts, almost never EVER eat out, no vacations, and can’t afford to take sick days from work. And NO SAVINGS. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!

  78. Anonymous1 year ago

    So playing with this I’m in the middle income bracket if I make between 2200 and 50000. That’s a big difference. Is the calculator broken?

  79. Anonymous1 year ago

    I work at Boeing and I am in the Lower Class, explain that one!

  80. Anonymous1 year ago

    According to this I am lower income and that is a fact if you go purely by what I get as income only right now. I am disabled and married, so the only income we get (she cannot work because of her limited sight) is based on the years I have worked which is around 40 years. If I were to compare this to what I made working after tax, 401K, medical dental and life insurance, etc, I am getting $800/month average less than what I get with disability which has no contributions. This is based on my last full year of being able to work and the total net income I got then.

  81. Anonymous1 year ago

    More people live in rural areas than cities plus I was rated as middle class and we are just making it. Don’t know if you live in the real world .

    1. George Kurtus Hlass1 year ago

      Most people live in Metropolitan areas.

  82. Anonymous1 year ago

    But I have more education than Bachelors
    Ma in Administration
    EdS in Adult Education
    So where Am I on your scale with two divorces

  83. Anonymous1 year ago

    Wake up!!! The focus shifted from individual income to corporate income under a Reagan Administration and it hasn’t changed. Clinton was too corrupt and Obama too inept to actually make a difference.

    1. George Kurtus Hlass1 year ago

      Do you have any idea what the economy was like under Carter: Double digit inflation, double digit interests rates, double digit unemployment, gas went to over $1.00 a gallon from $0.45 in a year. The rule was charge everything on your credit card the beginning of the month because you will be paying less via inflated dollars by the due date. Of course there was double digit raises and double digit investment (i.e. CD’s). BTW: Carter’s fix for everything: Wear a sweater.

  84. Anonymous1 year ago

    Middle class gets few breaks.

  85. Anonymous1 year ago

    When I think of middle class this is what comes to mind for me…1. able to own a small to mid size home and make payments on time. 2. able to afford health insurance for a family of four. 3. able to own 1-2 decent newer model vehicles. 4. able to take a vacation once a year. 5. able to safe money to send kids to collage by the age of 18. All this while not being in debt is middle class to me but at 53k a year in southern California this is not even close to the case for my family. we own a 165k dollar home but that’s all we can afford. half the family cant afford health insurance and make to much money to get any Obamacare breaks. we have one 18 year old car because we cant save any money due to some debt from school and medical bills from a bout with cancer….middle class means well off to me but apparently our NEW standards just means barly making it. whats poor mean homeless/jobless?compared to the way we lived in the 50-70’s my family would be considered barly above poor but I guess im the new middle class

  86. Janet Moore1 year ago

    I retired young, but have not a whit of debt and share a house. I pay for food, cable/internet package, cell phones. My house-mate covers electricity (very low here) and the real estate taxes. So, I used just my income (from savings) of $2300 per month and put one person in household. This is the same amount I will get from SS. We have to troubles financially and I travel often. My house mate doesn’t travel much but goes to the theater, concerts and other events more often than I. It put me inn the middle income. If I put 2 people (I don’t know what my house-mate makes from his retirement savings) then I fall into lower. My disposable income is 3/4 of what I pay myself. There are so many factors that would affect this, but a lot of them are choices. Neither of us has children or a dime of debt. We are pretty low maintenance as far as material needs. We also do most of our own home repairs, etc. We have the time. I am 53 and he 59. We retired to this house three years ago. No mortgage. I live in a suburb of Des Moines and my cost of living is 51% of what it was living in Fairfax, VA right outside DC. (Yes I track every penny so I know the %%) I know with age I will have more medical costs, but I won’t be here much longer. Just moving here I learned I could do so much more on a whole lot less. I can live even cheaper in many countries with a doctors the cost of a co-pay here. We may have a wealthy country, but we are very low on the happiness spectrum compared to Central America, Scandinavia and some European countries. I knew I would never retire in the DC area, though I loved it there. Moving is fun too!

  87. Mariano Mendez1 year ago

    If You Need To Take This Test To Figured It Out You Are Not In The Middle Class, You Are Poor.

  88. Anonymous1 year ago

    Apparently I am middle class. That’s cool. However, According to this if I made 40,000 more a year I would still be (upper) middle class. I cannot even imagine how easy my life would be at that salary, and I’d still not be considered rich, lol.

    1. Laura Thomas Boren1 year ago

      For me, the differential was around $15,000 between middle class and upper class – I ran the numbers two different ways (we have a variable income which I didn’t count in the first run through). That’s not a huge amount, actually, but instructive. It means that even without the extra variable income, we’re on the higher side of middle class and with it, the lower side of upper class – in other words, we’re upper middle. Which is what i presumed.

  89. Anonymous1 year ago

    Bahahaha. I’m a teacher, that’s why. XD

  90. Anonymous1 year ago

    My late husband and I raised 8 children (blended family), own our home (5 bedroom/4 baths 3200 sq. ft.) put all 8 into college and we both retired on time ( Howard at 65 and I at 62). We did not have credit cards (everything was cash on the barrel head), purchased demo cars (so the millage was low), kept them for 12 to 15 years before we got the next “new” car, bought a foreclosed house using a VA loan.( We were both veterans.) I also sewed all the kids clothes, knitted their sweaters and any clothing I could not make I bought at T J Maxx. I also bought in bulk, had a kitchen garden and canned most of our food. I also made our bread, cheese and wine. Howard also did all the yard work and car repairs ( now that he’s passed, I do this stuff). Howard was an Engineer and I ran a General Construction Company. My home is insulated to Passive House standards, 43 solar panels on the roof, and a whole house generator for power outages. I also have a wood stove and I split the firewood myself. All of this on a standard middle class income in Southeast CT. It can be done.

  91. daniel greene1 year ago

    Strangely enough, I don’t think that money is the problem. I believe that its the way that we are taught to spend money that hurts us. Everyone wants the “top of the line” phone and phone plan, a big car, a big home with all of the amenities, cable T.V. with sports and movie packages, and their kids to have the newest of everything.

    A person who makes 40-60,000 a year more than likely brings home 25-30,000 a year home after taxes and should be enough for health insurance, a used car or two with insurance, a dwelling, food, utilities, and a small form of entertainment (i.e. video games, games, movies (one of these, not all)) for a family of three on a one income home. Education on how to spend needs to be offered to offset the disparity.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      My rent alone for a 3br is 33,600!!!

  92. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is useful research, but a great misrepresentation of the state of the middle class. This is because the middle class has been approximated by ‘middle tier income’. Imagine you lived in the poorest country in Africa, and that you made $50 a month; you would still be in the ‘middle tier’ and probably feel glad that you are not in the ‘lower tier’. But are you really a middle class citizen?
    Another way to see how misleading is to have a title invoking ‘middle class’ when studying ‘middle tier income’, is to look at a family of 3 making 55K and living in NYC. A family like that would be considered ‘middle tier income’ according to the provided calculator. Do you think this family has a middle class life? Home ownership – a hallmark of the middle class, as well as good education, would surely be amiss. Not to mention many other aspects of what we think middle class really means.

  93. Anonymous1 year ago

    I think the parameters for middle class must be set rather generously. I played with the income variable. I am satisfied that I am in the middle class — just barely. However, I can tell you that a person earning 10K less than I am will struggle quite a bit to make ends meet. It is unlikely that they will be able to save much or pay for a major car repair without making significant sacrifices.

  94. Anonymous1 year ago

    What is EXTREMELY fascinating about this tool is when I entered the information for my family it came back as High income bracket for my area. I am a white, married college graduate as is my husband. When I changed ONLY the race, guess what? Yes, there were some differences by a few percentage points here and there but the BASIC indication was regardless of race if you are in a household where the parents are MARRIED and the income earners are COLLEGE GRADUATES, your worst case for being in the LOW income class is 10% with the rest split between middle and high incomes!!

    Moral of the story here – if you want to be successful STAY IN SCHOOL, VALUE EDUCATION, and DON’T GET PREGNANT until you have graduated from college and you are MARRIED.

    Our country is on a downward trajectory because our culture has become overwhelmed with the notion that these basic things in life are “uncool”. It’s much more in vogue to have “Baby mamas”, collect welfare, and have single parent households with a ton of kids. Take the race out of it, it’s our entire society that is in decay.

  95. Ron Wood1 year ago

    “You are in the lower income tier, along with 25% of adults ” Why ? It’s not because I’ve worked all my working years,and not saved enough. That’s what the government wants me to believe ! It’s MY fault ? Really? Maybe it’s because of the GREED by Washington Lawmakers using the laws THEY pass to steal from me. No one wants to bring that up in the news,and help me get back the money THEY stole. I sure could use it now in my retirement. I’m 68,and my wife is 64. Is the government going to return my money? I doubt it…they all have their big yaghts,big houses,Vacations…all at my expense.Pew Reasearch is just telling my I’m poor,something we allready live with everyday.

  96. Anonymous1 year ago

    s0on we all be in the lower class, my children cannot find jobs both with college educations. They have filed hundreds of applications and are still living with us for years.

    1. George Kurtus Hlass1 year ago

      Since my child graduated just over 10 years ago, she has found jobs without much of an effort. Mostly with Fortune 500 companies. Her degree in business and passing the CPA may have something to do with it. Plus going to decent colleges and getting decent grades. She has moved up four times since she received her MBA back in 2012.
      I remember going on a job interview. A clerk was sent to bring me to the floor for my interview. In the elevator I asked her where she went to college. She graduated from one of the best business, medical, law, technical, social science schools in the country. I asked her which degree she earned. It was in clarinet. Yes, clarinet. Except for the fact that she could get alumni football tickets, she had little else going for her.

  97. Anonymous1 year ago

    David Martinez is right. We are being taxed to death. We supposed to be the upper class
    with $325,000 income per year. We don’t live like an upper income couple, after taxed, we
    feel poor. We pay 31 % fed. tax, 10.5 % state tax, 7.5% s.s. tax, and 3 % other taxes, also
    $14,000. property tax, sales tax for purchases. We certainly don’t have much left especially if you live in So. Calif. when a 2000 sq ft. home is a million dollar.

  98. Anonymous1 year ago

    I have been getting robbed of my wealth now for close to 7 years. Slowly I’m having to sell all of my assets just to survive the jobless rate. Going on 6 years now of no gainful employment. At age 53, I don’t see any chance of getting back into the work force. This administration has declared war on middle class America and I am living proof of this. I have watch the wealth that I acquired during the Regan administration dwindle down to nothing. I have no idea what retirement is going to look like. I’m just selling every asset to survive. This is not the America that I grew up in. Wake up people. You are being robbed of your wealth and the middle class is purposely being wiped out.

  99. Anonymous1 year ago

    If we are in the lower income group why is it that we can not qualify for any kind of assistance. We are told that based on the income and size of the household, we make too much money to receive any kind of assistance: housing, more reasonable rent, medical help for spouse, etc. don’t have med. insurance for spouse, can’t afford, no life ins, can’t afford can’t pay rent, can’t afford to move, can’t qualify for any help with housing that is affordable what does a person do when they have already retired but find they have to go back to work to support themselves and family? On Social Security but don’t get any increases and older person no one will hire

  100. Rod Newstrom1 year ago

    I see many people complaining they can’t live the life their parents did. This makes me wonder how many people now consider smart phones with data plans, microwave ovens, big screen TVs, Cable TV, laptops, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. are “essentials.” My parents had none of these things and got by just fine. My parents also avoided debt with a passion. My father taught me a few key things, and I retired in “Upper Income” even though I have no college degree. 1) Slavery wasn’t abolished, we’re all wage slaves. Unlike real slaves, however, we can save, invest, and buy your freedom (aka retirement). 2) You’ll get many pay raises over your lifetime. Spend only half of each and save the rest. You’ll still feel like you have more and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you have saved enough to buy your freedom. 3) You’ll never get rich by trying to look rich when you’re not. Look poor. 4) Save the money needed to buy something before buying rather than after buying. It’s a lot cheaper.

  101. Anonymous1 year ago

    i dont feel middle or upper class, despite the calculations

  102. Anonymous1 year ago

    There are a number of reasons for our shrinking middle class. Stagnant income over the last 10 years but with increased living costs and “must have” stuff. For example, a telephone of 25 years ago with a few long distance calls cost %25 a month. Now everyone “has to have a smart phone ($300 – $500)” and a data plan at $200 a month. If you commute to work gas has been above $3.50 a gallon and is back to $2.35. Our government tries to convince us that things are good but we still have a huge number of people out of work.
    Government cannot directly create jobs that have a positive effect on the economy. Only by controlling taxes, reducing stranglehold regulations and creating incentives to bring jobs back onshore will we regraow the middle class!

  103. Anonymous1 year ago

    As usual, economists and researchers just do not get it. To describe any of the classes, you need tons of data not just income, age, marital status, color of skin and where you live. How about the people who make a ton of money and do not pay taxes? How about the people on welfare? How about the people who get government payments for doing nothing? How about people who do not file taxes and get cash income? How about people who get big pensions and get big pension increases starting at 50 years of age for life? How about people who have 3, 4, 5 and 6 kids with only one parent? How about the people who have $40K to $80K in student loans, credit cards bills or car loans and make over $100K+ a year? How about the people who have 2 or 3 jobs at $8.00 an hour? How about the people who collect unemployment or disability year after year after year yet flood the casinos with cash? How about the people who are work all there lives, retire with a fixed income and continue to be taxed and taxed and taxed until they have to foreclose their homes or go back to work to make ends meet? How about the poor Chicago teachers who need more money from the poor Chicago government to make ends meet so they tax the lower class? How about the people who lost their jobs to a foreign country so that the upper class can make more money? How about people who incorporate themselves, list their wife and kids as employees and write off all their expenses to avoid taxes. How about ? How about? How about? This could on for ever. How about the immigrants who do not pay taxes but send their income overseas. Two things are for sure, the rich get richer by controlling the game and the middle class are becoming the upper lower class very fast. The US is $21 trillion in debt, student debt is over $1 trillion, credit card debt is over $1 trillion, pensions are unfunded by $100’s of billions, all with no end in sight. Good luck to us all.

  104. Anonymous1 year ago

    What nonsense…

  105. Anonymous1 year ago

    I live in a rural area so I suspect my stats should not count. In case you do not know, there is more to Nevada than Vegas and Reno. All you researchers in the crowded East need a field trip into the rest of the real world.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      isn’t 80% of Nevada Federal land?

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      And because Las Vegas(Clark County) and Reno (Washoe County) are so heavily populated, as compared to the rest of the state, Nevada is one of the most, if not the most urbanized state in the country. So maybe the statistics are not as skewed as you might think

    3. Sam Adams1 year ago

      Nevada is a red state and I’ve been there to visit. No thanks!

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      Everywhere is real! Not just small hick towns

  106. Anonymous1 year ago

    Actually its incredibly harder than anything a human can do and that is struggle to survive. Most people have no idea what its like to not have any money for years and wouldn’t know how to act accordingly until it happened to them. You must understand if you have money its a responsibility to spend it wisely and please don’t concern yourself with greed its a never ending cycle.

  107. Anonymous1 year ago

    Middle class apparently doesn’t mean what it used to in terms of standard of living. According to your calculator, my family is solidly middle class and we can barely get by. There is absolutely no way we could even afford to take a cheap vacation. Our net worth is positive, but not by a whole lot and I cannot see that I will ever be able to retire (I am in my forties). I grew up in a “real” middle class household: a four bedroom, three bathroom house in the same MST in which I now live, and there was no debt other than the mortgage. Cars were bought for cash and there was never a balance on a credit card. We went on vacation once a year. My mother, a widowed social worker, was able to retire at sixty. I think you need to redefine your income brackets.

    1. Rod Newstrom1 year ago

      Did your parents have smart phones, data plans, internet, cable, big screen TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, computers/lap top, microwave, espresso maker, etc ? Did their cars last hundreds of thousands of miles without major repair ? Did they eat out or buy Starbucks coffee often ? I’m going to guess the answer to most of these questions is “no.” The list of things we consider “essential” today is long, but most are not needed, and they drain the monthly budget. It’s death by a hundred cuts. If you want to get rich, invest half of every pay raise, look poor in your lifestyle rather than rich, and save the money needed to buy something before you buy it rather than after. These are lessons from my parents, and they allowed me to retire at 55 in “Upper Income” even though I never attended college. My children heed this advice and are well on their way to financial independence.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      So True!!

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Unfortunately, what has happened in America is that we have lowered the standards for EVERYONE so that the minority is now “equal” to the middle. When this happens, we lower the high-end standards to disproportionately lower numbers… EX: Current standards: Low-end is $25K and, to adjust for “equality” sakes, that makes the “high” end around $75-100K. HOWEVER, in a free market society, when the “high-end is, say, $1M, then the “lower”-end raises up to $50K plus. So, there is a larger gap but the lower end is elevated but when the gap is smaller, the lower-end is SIGNIFICANTLY lower…

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      If you are ‘barely getting by’ then maybe you need to re-evaluate your spending habits? Think of all the things you regularly spend money on that your parents did not…purchases at convenient stores, frequency of eating out, Cell phone services, cable/ satellite TV, mail order services…these all eat away your monthly income without it really registering in your mind.

    5. Anonymous1 year ago

      maybe you need to redefine your standard of living. I bet you did have 4 tvs in your house growing up or cellphones or computer or cable tv. How often did you mom take you out eat. How often did she make dinner from scratch. I’m going to go ahead and guess you don’t have a hard budget that you live by.

    6. Anonymous1 year ago

      Similarly, I’m placed in the upper class, yet my car is 17 years old, I don’t go on vacation every year, my house is much smaller than most houses in my area, and my bank account is not growing. I do live in a very expensive area of the country. If I moved to where I used to live I would be rich, but everything from a loaf of bread to dentists appointments are wildly expensive where I live now.

  108. Jim Morris1 year ago

    My wife and I are both retired. Because of pensions and investments, our yearly income exceeds $180,000 a year. Because our home and cars are paid off and we have no debt, I can understand our income being considered upper tier.

    Yet my daughter and son-in-law have a joint income close to $250,000. They have house and car payments, along with the expenses related to raising two young boys. So even though their income is quite a bit higher than my wife and I, they have far less money to spend on non essential purchases than we do.

    So I think how much debt you have is a better indicator of wealth than how much you earn.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Completely agree

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      you are filthy rich and don’t seem to realize it, we are all at the top of the mountain right now,, it will all be a downhill slide from here, just sayin,, all that we have built is not at all sustainable, We should all be very grateful for the great amount of wealth over and above just surviving on the planet has been delivered to us. I have dropped from 80,000 to 40,000 in 6 years, but I know that I have so much more than my parents had and many times over what their parents and great grandparents had. There is a saying that holds very true for most people, “the more you make the more you spend”

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      You are exactly right. My wife and I are both 83, retired, debt free, and with 2 nice vehicles, and a beautiful mortgage-free home. Our $70,000+/- income would then be much greater than someone with children in or approaching college, and heavy mortgage and car payments. Insurance premiums and co-pays and property taxes are our biggest expenses. Since 2000 our IRA has shrunk over $700,000, but due to our ages, we try to manage the remainder as best we can and not worry about it otherwise.

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      This is NOT a calculator of wealth. If that were the case, then assets and debt would be the indicators. This is an INCOME calculator. It falls on us to handle our income so that our wealth reflects the same story. A family making $250K should not have car payments, short of extenuating circumstances (e.g. costly illnesses, disabled children, etc.).

    5. Anonymous1 year ago

      No…how much debt one has is an indicator of their ability to live within their means.

  109. Anonymous1 year ago

    Large range for middle class with a family of 4 in my area. 50000 to 140000 per year is defined as middle class

  110. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is why gross income should not be what the metric is measured by. Myself and many others are getting 60% of their gross and would be considered extreme poverty. However, this tool is why income and reality are way different things.

  111. Anonymous1 year ago

    B.S. Property taxes in central Florida have shyrocketed in the past 2-3 years. Don’t know how anyone can afford a mortgage, taxes, insurance and healthcare costs. The government has really stuck it to the working people. Goodbye American Dream.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      And that’s why quite a few headlInes begin, “a Florida man…”

    2. Ron Wood1 year ago

      Well said, The people in Washington still have the “American Dream”,because they have the American people paying for their dream.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      I live in Central florida. Property taxes are high because Florida has no state income tax. Property taxes have recently skyrocketed because property values are shooting back up, after crashing in 2008.

      Here’s one definition of middle class: if you own property, you are probably middle class. Most poor people rent.

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      Feel free to make yourself more valuable to employers and thus earn more money. Or, of course, you can always just moan about your situation.

  112. Anonymous1 year ago

    Our info is based on 3 adult lucky (aka retired) women. Our mother & her two daughters residing together as roommates. We have no mortgage, a 14 yr old car, trust me – it’s a pretty good life. We’re doing great.

  113. Anonymous1 year ago

    Why is there no question if you are retired and have no salary income? -ss

  114. Anonymous1 year ago

    Nice little calculator….but how is 29k a year “middle class” in Los Angeles?

    The Middle Class needs to be redefined, because 29k is poor period.

    Middle Class should be 50K for 1 person as it is expensive here/60k for more IMO

    Further, there is no talk of debt in the middle class, if you make 100k a year and owe 80k plus a mortgage you are not middle class, you are debt-class. You are not middle class IMO until your debt is manageable. These Millennial’s owing over 100k with little to no jobs are in a horrible position, I can’t fathom how they will get out of it considering what jobs pay nowadays.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      and how can 95 thousand in San Francisco be lower class?

    2. Rod Newstrom1 year ago

      The average student debt is at $30K, and studies show the college education is worth about $18K per year in income over the graduate’s career. That debt level is comparable to a mid-size car, and it pays for itself in 2 years of increased earnings. Sure, there are plenty of folks who signed up for more debt and who won’t ever get any income boost (art history majors, for example). Smart kids don’t go that route. The low cost approach of living at home while attending community college to take care of the prerequisites before transferring to a local public college doesn’t seem to be very attractive to kids these days. Many seem to think college is a “life adventure” that demands “independent living” at a name-brand college. Very few “name brand” colleges are worth their cost, and borrowing to pay living expenses for the full term so you can be “independent” is not a very wise plan.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      I am single, living in Los Angeles and don’t own a home. About 55% of my net income pays the rent of an apartment that includes space for a home office in a dilapidated, neglected building. My apartment is in a relatively safe area, but nothing like Beverly Hills.

      I got nothing but a newish economy model car, safe shelter, an occasional dinner out at a modest restaurant and a puny 401K that will probably never be enough to retire on. Excuse me, but that’s not upper income.

  115. Mike Rosenberg1 year ago

    The *real* problem is defining and basing income levels on income, rather than purchasing power. The cost of living in the northeast and around San Francisco is some of the highest in the country, so one would expect workers there to be paid more for the same jobs, just to be able to live as well.

  116. Jerome Barry1 year ago

    That’s all very cute. Now how about offering a calculator to expose and condemn the school board members who keep tax rates steady while land valuations rise 10% every year?

  117. Anonymous1 year ago

    Neat tool…but how do you forget the Peoria metro in Illinois!

  118. Anonymous1 year ago

    No accurate, my wife an I cannot be in the upper class raising two children while paying for our student loans.

  119. Anonymous1 year ago

    I’m very curious about the definitions for “income tier.”
    Are the tiers each one-third of the income distribution?

    Sometimes middle class means fifty percent of the income distribution (so upper means upper 25% and lower means lowest 25%).


  120. Anonymous1 year ago

    Such BS it says Upper income for my state when it sure doesn’t feel that way. family of 3 both age 24 making 106500 a year living with my parents in law because life is too expensive. Please move this income bracket to lower because that is the quality of life we have to live in.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Maybe you should live less on the hog and grow up. We don’t owe you x number of dollars, so learn to use your money more wisely. Just saying. Glad I’m not your in-laws.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Family of 3 with “both” age 24? I’ll assume there’s a child in that mix somewhere. Regardless, if the 2 of you make $106K a year and can’t make it without Mommy and Daddy’s help, you must have seriously expensive drug habits. I live in a relatively expensive part of the US (coastal SoCal with average home prices near $1million in my ZIP) and I never made much more than that amount each year yet I own a beautiful home (worth well over the median) and live a very comfortable life. But no cable, no new cell phone every year, no going out to dinner very often, no alcohol, no wasting my money on cheap Chinese products sold at all the chain stores. All my money was saved or invested – mortgage payments took most of it. And it wasn’t until I was over 50 that I bought a new car and instead relied on used cars. I still have that new car and it’s in mint condition. Wealth is real estate and investments – not buying crap you don’t need. My parents were poor and died decades ago so no family help for me. I brought my lunch to work every day. With maximizing retirement funds and paying a hefty mortgage, you’ll pay almost no income tax. I’ve always lived as though I had no money. So I think of myself as poor. But I’m actually not poor – far from it. Maybe it’s not so much how much you make but what you do with it. Oh, and rule #1 – NO CHILDREN!!!! You wanna be poor then keep having kids. Get a damn dog instead.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        You don’t seriously expect someone to live within their means do you?

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        Bravo! I have always lived the same way. Went to community college before transferring to a four-year school. Married, bought a modest home in which we have lived for twenty-eight years. Purchased two to three years old used cars. Take my lunch to work every day. Now I’m almost 60 years old and, financially speaking, can retire anytime. I feel much less stressed than I otherwise would. America needs to realize that fancy cars and big houses are POVERTY, not wealth.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Uhm, okay. Try living 3 for 19500. That is LOWER. Please come back and talk to me then. And I have a college degree with student loans. That is lower class. Not over 100k.

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      hey dude, I would be so happy with 106,500

  121. Matthew Fitch1 year ago

    This is the same B.S. I’ve been hearing for decades. Are you TECHNICALLY middle-class? They could come out with an article that says a family of four making $25,000 is middle-class, so “be happy that you’re middle class!” What they should be asking is, “do you struggle to pay the bills?” “Are your medical costs dragging you down?” “Can you afford to go on vacation and help put your kids through college?” The phrase “middle-class” is very subjective and simply changing the criteria or name of something doesn’t actually change the condition.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Vacation? Whats that?

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Lol, yep.

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        It’s what (most) people who properly manage their expenses can afford to do. Cut out the daily stops at the convenience stores or coffee shops, pack your lunch each day instead of buying it, and cook the majority of your meals at home vice eating out so often. You will be amazed at the money it saves you.

  122. Anonymous1 year ago

    Would be nice to detail this even more. My wife and I both work, but I have a bachelors degree and she has a HS degree (I make only slightly more than her). In step 2 changing the education level while keeping all the other factors the same for our age, race, and marital status changes the numbers greatly.

  123. Anonymous1 year ago

    That’s all well and good, but now ask me about my mortgage, how much my debt I have and how much money I have invested.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Does that matter? What you make is one thing, how you chose to spend or save it is another. If two people make the same amount of money but one has chosen to buy a bigger house with a bigger mortgage and has chosen not to save any money (while the other one has), then who’s fault is that? Sounds like one person possibly made poor planning decisions.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Well said. This is not a survey for how well people are living within their means.

      2. Jerome Barry1 year ago

        It matters because some people, over time, invest a portion of their lower-income in good dividend stocks and also reinvest dividends which, over a few decades, becomes a middle or upper income stream independent of their labor.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          It is irrelevant to this article. This article is about wages earned, not how someone has invested and has an income separate of wages.

      3. Anonymous1 year ago

        I agree absolutely, my wife and I did send our kids to private schools, but we never bought that big home that Realtors all said we could afford. We also never joined that Country Club that most of our friends did. We are now semi-retired, taking many vacations a year. They are now just starting to worry about retiring. Good luck with that!

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      I think you raise an excellent point. Some expenses — like car, mortgage and tuition — are essential baggage for the middle-class lifestyle. You cannot earn a middle-class income without incurring these costs. What percent of that total middle-class income do they consume? I feel confident that it’s rising year after year. The cost of transportation, housing and education has been rising faster than incomes. People make up that difference with debt. That’s one more reason why life as the middle class perceives it is worse than life as the government describes it.

      And then there’s health care, a totally separate discussion …

      1. Flower Power1 year ago

        “Some expenses — like car, mortgage and tuition — are essential baggage for the middle-class lifestyle.”

        Well yes, to some extent, but there’s a wide variability in choice. Did you lease that Mercedes? or buy that lease-return Malibu? Did you buy as much house as possible? or as little house as possible? Did you spend $80,000 getting a Masters from a State University or $150,000 on a BA in Art History from Yale?

  124. Anonymous1 year ago

    I think your tiers are not calibrated enough to be useful. If ‘upper class’ is defined by making 125k+, and the number in circulation this week is that it takes 130k to live what was in the past considered to be a middle class lifestyle (e.g., stable housing, savings, health insurance, regular vacations, retirement) – and only if you live outside a major city (the very places it’s least unlikely where you might score a 130k+ salary), how does this really make sense?

    People can afford the gadgets and some of the trappings of a middle class lifestyle pretty easily, thanks to lower relative costs for goods. That doesn’t mean they are middle class.

  125. Brian Hull1 year ago

    i only earn 60-65k but i also only work 2 days per week. i think time is a commodity a lot of people do not have these days.

  126. Anonymous1 year ago

    I kind of agree with Steve. I live in southern California as well. My household income is about 300,000 dollars annually but I don’t exactly feel upper middle class. I think only the ultra rich feel the complete benefits of their class

    1. Jeff Wentz1 year ago

      How in the world would you not feel like upper class? If you started living like middle class, you’d feel the benefits real fast making that kind of money.

      1. Genia Hudson Wheeler1 year ago

        Money in California doesn’t go very far when you are paying for a 1,000,000 house that is around 1800sq ft. In NYC you get a 2 bedroom apartment for 1,000,000 with no yard. I live in SC so our homes are around 2200 sq ft for $170,000. Now that is a BIG difference. But if they moved to SC their job would not pay $300,000 a year even doing the same job. So it is all about where you live. Make more money but a lot less to show for it.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          Housing and salary is not relative in Los Angeles compared to many other areas. For the same job I may make 50% less in another area but my housing is about 5X more expensive. People say it is relative but it is not when you compare apples to apples when it comes to jobs and housing

          1. Anonymous1 year ago

            I agree, we are a family of three earning $125,000/yr and living in a 2500 sq ft home on a lake, driving two nice cars, paying our bills BUT we are located in nowhere northern Maine! 9-10 months a year of horrible winter, nothing to do in spare time. Monetary middle class is not so bad, but need to travel four hours to see a mall!

  127. Anonymous1 year ago

    So buy this definition I’m middle class, but I can not afford a home. Something is wrong in this country.

    1. Nancy Davis Brian1 year ago

      It depends on where you live. In Atlanta all you need in no debt and 35,000 to get a 2 br starter home in a working class neighborhood. 100,000 a year gets you a 3,000 square foot home in an upper neighborhood.

      1. Christopher Franko1 year ago

        working class neighborhood, aka.. the hood.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          There is a huge difference between working class and hood

        2. Anonymous1 year ago

          ‘Hood’ is a an abbreviation for ‘Neighborhood’. Sigh.

  128. Steve Hernandez1 year ago

    Living in Southern California, I think all bets are off with this calculator, wife and I do $160,000 per year combined and live pay check to pay check, I consider us middle class but the tier calculator considers us Upper Tier. We have a handsome lease, lots of toys and credit card debt up the yahoo but were having fun all the same. If we had our income out in the Midwest somewhere I would consider us very, well to do.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      They should probably do it by state or metropolitan area – what constitutes middle class in Southern California where everything is expensive is going to be much different from what constitute middle class in coastal Mississippi where people don’t even have driveways for their teeny tiny homes.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Teeny tiny! There are plenty of clad board houses in CA. I think things like CA having high taxes is hard on middle class income, they pay the bulk of taxes everywhere

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          I moved from SoCal to Wisconsin last summer. Income tax is almost double here and property taxes about a third more than California. Vehicle registration is way cheaper though….

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      It’s your spending habits. You will live month to month anywhere. Most people exhaust their income. The more money u make the bigger and better toys we buy.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Everyone has a budget, if you don’t have a savings you are not managing your money well, if you do not manage your money well you’ll always be broke no matter how much money you make.

  129. Anonymous1 year ago

    lower class omg

  130. Jovan Thompson1 year ago

    Wow. Well this is my profile.

  131. Jessica De Los Santos1 year ago

    While very interesting, I thought it’s very important to state I live in one of the most expensive areas of the U.S. The Middle Class is just starting to resurface. For a very long time middle class blended with the lower class. The area in which you live greatly affects your income.

    1. Tom Mack1 year ago

      Well of course they are calculating at a National level, and not based on State or local regions.

      When you take into account State and Local factors the algorithm may get quite complex.

      i.e. I was offered a position in California – I’m currently in Florida, last year the buying power of a dollar was .88 in California and in Florida it was 1.01, Florida has no State income-tax and general local property taxes – are homestead exempt.

      So, figure in this If I make 80k (80.8k of buying power) here in Florida and the company in California offers 90k (79.2k of buying power), It’s not much of an incentive for relocation even before considering take home and property taxes.

  132. Mark Mathosian2 years ago

    Very interesting and informative. Plan on sharing a link to the article with friends.

  133. Paul Wills2 years ago

    One thing this really does fail to factor in is where you live. I get that it’s on a national scale so your state, county, whatever aren’t important statistically… but when you have to realize that “middle-class” is a state of mind. It’s making enough money to buy a house, buy vehicles, save a little for later, not need government assistance, etc.

    So when I see that I’m in the lower percentile, both among my “peers” and the US population as a whole, I just don’t think that’s accurate when you zoom in and see that I’m living in one of the poorest parts of the country. My wife is able to work part time because she wants to raise our kids, we have a house payment that we can afford, vehicle payments that we can afford, enjoy some luxuries (eating out, the occasional shopping trip), and we’re still able to save a little. That’s with an annual household income of less than $40k/year.

    The median household income in my county in 2013 (no joke) $23k. That’s pitiful.

  134. Bridget Casper2 years ago

    So is a small business owner that is taxed based on an S-Corperation that earns $300,000.00 but is debt $200,000.00 considered middle class. I find this calculator interesting because it does not ask about people’s debt load such at Student loans or business loans.

    What about a person that earns $25,000.00 a year but has $2000,000.00 in investments from inheritance? How is this person classified?

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Your logic is flawed. If you had 200 million dollars in an investment vehicle yielding you at the very least an annual return of 1 percent your annual income would be 200 thousand dollars. The ultra rich have investment vehicles yielding them at the very least 5 percent so there is no way with that amount of investment would your annual income be only 25 thousand dollars annually.

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Um, 1% of $200M is $2M. Very different bracket on an annual basis than $200K per year.

  135. Brian Lynch2 years ago

    What is the scientific, mathematical or social basis for pegging the middle class income range where you have it rather than where it would divide the number of people above and below it in half (25% above and below middle income)? This seems like intentional skewing of the scale to me. If it is done this way for historical reasons, what was the original rationale?

    In my opinion it is more useful to present income data like this in population quintiles where an equal number of people in the middle quintile fall above and below the median income. This less arbitrary definition of middle income better illustrates the economic decline in middle income households that is behind the political restlessness among voters today.

    If you don’t what the middle income range floating up or down based on population distributions over the years, the alternative would be to have fixed income ranges and report on the number of households in those fixed ranges. The fixed income ranges would have be adjusted each year to account for inflation and hourly GDP growth.

    If we had set such a middle income standard beginning in 1975, the center of the middle income range today would be about $100,000 and the percentages in that middle income range would be very small. Such a metric would show just how many families have fallen out of the middle income range based on 1975 standards.

  136. Peter Erikson2 years ago

    This is very depressing. It turns out that I am in the lowest 6 percent of the income tier when education, age, race/ethnicity and marital status are factored in. This points to me being a big failure.

    The irony of all this is that I live in the wealthiest place in the country. Even if I made double the amount of money I currently pull in, by all rights I should be unable to live here. But the old family home that was paid for years ago skews things.

    I’d like to see one more parameter added: middle-aged and having lost their career in the Great Recession. I’d probably be in a higher class if that was taken into account.

  137. Jerry Wilson2 years ago

    Your computer does not take into account those of us who have had higher salaries, have invested wisely, and are now retired.

    1. Christopher Franko1 year ago

      invested wisely lol. investing is 99.9% luck

  138. David Martinez2 years ago

    by the way is this net or …..calculation…what counts is what you can pay to or spend on yourself and need …GET the IRS out of our pay checks and this discussion would not here

  139. David Martinez2 years ago

    by the way I just got my vacation check for days i have not use it was taxed at 48% my time that i surrender to the company and denied my family …went to to the IRS…any or of bones i will get in the future will be also tax at 48%…do the math if i do NOT use any vacation time 2 weeks 1/2 the pay out will go to the IRS…40+ hours will go and fund some bird watcher in some forsaken part of our world…yes tell me how I’M FREE

  140. David Martinez2 years ago

    why we argue who is middle who is lower …think there is a MIDDLE MAN in our pockets and that is the IRS we are too heavily taxed…we are was never over just re designated by the survivors of the civil war it includes ALL that are not willing to lie and cheat the system

  141. robert barbee2 years ago

    Look at all the people that are complaining that the model is incorrect. or how can i be middle class, when i am living paycheck to paycheck.
    there is an easy way to fix that. take a deep hard look at what you spend your money on. look at where you can cut back. and DO IT. 2 years ago i took a $26K/yr pay cut to spend more time with my family, since then i have made up half of that with a better health care plan and raises (because i want to move up and work my butt off to do it). my wife and i also cancelled cable, changed at thermostat for summer and winter, changed daycare for our girls, we dont go out to dinner much anymore. there are A LOT of things a person can change and sacrifice for a couple years to build up a nest egg, or pay off stupid debts. (all debt is dumb). dont complain about what someone wont give you or be upset because you think you deserve what someone else has. GOD has a plan for you and until you understand that, you will be an unhappy person

    1. Bridget Casper2 years ago

      You are doing “it” right. Saving and being disciplined are admirable, but very difficult for most of us to do. Teach your childern about budgeting, most parents don’t talk to their kids about money, savings and investing. Good for you.

  142. BenL82 years ago

    The average household income in 2015 was $99,284, (I’m taking the CBO report on income distribution in 2011 and adjusting for inflation.) And with almost 125 million households, total national income is $12.4 trillion. The Congressional Joint Committee placed the national income (from 166 million tax units) at $12.7 trillion. So the total income figure derived from the CBO is about correct. And the average household income amount, $99,284 is about correct. The median household income is almost half that amount, $53,000. The average income per worker therefore is $79,000 per year. Most two adult households with children contribute about $180,000 to the national income, if they had average incomes, but they earn $90,000 if both male and female work full-time and receive median level incomes. I calculate that for full-time workers the average income is $105,000. So double that is $210,000 a year, the mean average. Also, this Pew Report does not include wealth and savings. Edward Wolff, scholar of household net worth, states that in 2010 31% of households had zero or negative net worth in “non-home” assets, and 50% had less than $10,000 in “non-home” net worth. Savings has a profound influence on the sense of economic security. This has been left out. The BEA states that after-tax income, “disposable income”,per capita is over $40,000. Therefore a household with 4 might have about $160,000 yearly income. We should be able to explain the reason for this discrepancy. The last suggestion I have, the median expenses for various household sizes could be included. The Economic Policy Institute has a Family Budget Calculator. I’d like to know how many households are well below the frugal basic budget, and how far below? For a family of four, the median income is $84,000, the Des Moines Iowa family (that’s the median expense locale) needs about $62,000 to make a normal lifestyle. The poverty level is $25,000, roughly. Poverty is at 15.3%, so 14% are low income but not poverty, using this reports findings. What portion of households have enough income to live at the frugal budget level? I sense it is above 29%, more like above 40%. My most relevant complaint here is that market income for labor is not fair, that it could be much higher. This conclusion is not mentioned. If nonsupervisory workers (making up 80% of the workforce) had the power to form unions their wage income would be higher by 20 to 40%. Their wages are falling. Wage income is too low. Wage income makes up 53% of total national income. Some 45% (or 71 million) of all workers earn less than $25,000 a year and their mean average income is below $11,000 a year, and the collective earnings in wages for 45% of workers is less than 6% of national income, according to the Social Security Administration report. But all in all, this is Pew report is excellent, in fact pretty good news for most people, but it could be better for all. I’m just filling in some holes, and I tend to be grumpy about the depth of poverty in such a wealthy society. Economics Without Greed is a blog I read.

  143. Doug Korty2 years ago

    Do you count implicit income? E.g., if someone owns their own house, that may be equal to after tax income of $12,000 per year. If they owned a rental house, and received rental income of $12,000 a year, that would show up as cash income. Same with any “implicit” income from assets. Someone who owns a car doesn’t have to pay car payments.

  144. Joe Silverman2 years ago

    Very interesting study. It is very good to see that the Pew’s researchers are going to be adjusting for differences in the cost of living between geographic areas.

    One suggestion in case you are not doing it as part of your geographic cost of living adjustment would be to further adjust for the NEED to have a car by geographic area. For example, people who live in vertical cities (New York, Chicago, or San Francisco) often do not need to have a car, while people who live in suburbs often need to have a car to get to work. If you could pull this off, I suspect that at least some of the increased cost of living in some higher cost of living urban centers would be offset by lower transportation costs by not owning a car. (Then again, if you do this, I suppose you should adjust for the cost of transit, and the occasional need to rent a car to leave the city.)

    Just a Thought,


  145. Bill2 years ago

    The calculator doesn’t take into consideration savings, and debt. I am retired, but I own my home and my rental property and have substantial savings. I believe the real test is disposable income versus just looking at a basic income model.

  146. Jerome Bernstein2 years ago

    well this is rather innocuous….I am retired with an 8 figure net worth…..but I come out as lower than the middle class because my “income” other than Social Security is plowed back into my investments.

  147. Nick Deerfield2 years ago

    Please define “household income”!

  148. Benjamin Hennessy2 years ago

    Bring back union jobs!

  149. Steve Bravy2 years ago

    Very interesting, thank you. You might want to consider two income input ootions- before or after taxes

  150. Kendyl2 years ago

    This is BS… income vs cost of living/bills/etc… horrible article

  151. Mark2 years ago

    I use to be middle class up till 2009. When I was laid off after nineteen yrs of service. My wife let after the money ran out. So now I work to pay bills and have very little to save, but I try. I’m better off than most. My house and car are paid for.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      What did you do as a living Mark?
      what is it you are doing now as a living? Many people go to enroll school or some training certification programs to find a decent job.

  152. Tiffany2 years ago

    People, read. A lot of your arguments and questions are in the article and notes. Reading is fundamental!

  153. John Shaw2 years ago

    I think a lot depends on where you live.
    There are areas where a couple making $65,000 per year live week to week.

    1. Bobbi Blaine2 years ago

      Then, common sense says move.

      1. carrie parry2 years ago

        What usually happens is if you move to a place where the cost of living is lower, they also pay you less for the same job. Thus you’re in pretty much the same boat and out the money for moving and with the aggravation of moving and finding a new job.

  154. jlmd2 years ago

    I find it odd that you say under $41,000 is cut so dry at that point based on 3 rather than 2 people, especially considering age groups. We have $38K for 2 people in the 45-64 age group, closer to the 64. It certainly doesn’t seem like we are middle class anymore.

  155. Kay2 years ago

    My husband and I have 10 children , 33 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, so far. We believe that the “middle classes” is shrinking because so many are refusing to have the children that GOD gives them, but choose to control their family size out of greed and fear. We’re proud of our expanding, middle class family, and know that some will break into the upper class one day.

    1. Bobbi Blaine2 years ago

      Good for you, but I could never have supported five children, so I practiced birth control. More of our single parents should learn to do the same and we hard workers, savers and financial conscious would not be paying taxes to support the “Low-income), welfare twenty to thirty year olds, who are never going to be anything except dependent on public assistance.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      Well you may think it’s greedy for people not to want children but I disagree. I have never wanted to have children and my husband is completely on board. Right now, we are lucky enough to own our house, have a little savings and we’re able to travel some and buy organic groceries, basically live a comfortable, happy life within our means. If children came into the picture though, we would struggle immensely. I don’t see how the financial strain could possibly benefit our relationship and our general attitude about life. While I completely understand that parenthood is a hugely rewarding experience in so many ways, I have never once felt that desire for myself. I think it is much less greedy to admit my true feelings about having children and let those who are fully commited both emotionally and financially to bringing a life into the world do that. In my opinion, too many people have kids because it’s what they think married couples do next. I think a child should be much more than that and it’s simply not something I choose to do. So at the end of day, it’s your life and you may choose to do whatever you see fit. Some will choose to be parents, some will not. I don’t see anything with either lifestyle if it suits you.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      And how does one support 10 kids? I hope you didn’t use government programs to help fund your life choices. The world moved toward prosperity through birth control and smaller families. What you have done is irresponsible in an already overpopulated world.

  156. Don2 years ago

    What this does is not record what your net worth is? That can be an entirely different figure and picture.

  157. Priscilla..Jacobson2 years ago

    We need badly.a raise in Social Security benefits.
    I am still living at 83years, but everything is getting more expensive to just exit.
    Dental bills ….not helped by SS, hearing aids ….no help[…..
    We need help is so many ways if we did not have Savings or Life INSURANCE.I cannot work due to Cancer and bad knees.
    my husband died at 72 and had a business failure….lived on what he saved till he died from Heart disease. I worked till 73 when i had to go for Chemo and my Ca is terminal…..

    Know others fighting a battle like myself……..Writing to DC to try to give us more in our SS check….

    1. Dennis Gauss2 years ago

      I cannot understand how a so-called wealthy, Christian society can stand by and allow these situations to go un-addressed.Hell,I’m an athiest but I do try to conduct my life along Christian lines.I help where I can because love and charity DO begin at home and if we won’t help each other who will help us ?

    2. Anonymous2 years ago

      Should’ve saved money for retirement. Can’t rely on the government.

    3. Bobbi Blaine2 years ago

      Get real, Social Security counts on everyone dying before they reach 70 years old. The people behind the curtain, the ones making the rules, are more like Donald Trump, then we like to believe, Trump will exterminate us by the time we reach 65, he’s a problem solver.

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      Social Security is based on the idea that for every one elderly there will be 10 working class citizens and unfortunately not enough Americans have had children to support this model. I have no children and one of my brother only has 2 while the other has 4. By 2020 social security is going to be in a deficit. We need to be self reliant as individuals and prepare to retire without government assistance if you are under the age 40

  158. Rosinante2 years ago

    Greatest way to solve most problems is to repeal the ” Withholding Tax Law “. Younger people would now care about paying taxes. Think about it.

    1. Spence2 years ago


  159. Nico2 years ago

    I guess this doesn’t concern me, I’ve been demoted from middle class to lower class already.

  160. EM2 years ago

    This is very misleading. You do not indicate whether it is gross or net. Also as many others have noted, your wealth has some correlation to where you live!

    1. jlmd2 years ago

      right on

  161. Pat2 years ago

    I am a registered nurse and single parent of two who is, according to the calculator, “middle class”. However, with the current income tax, we’re just getting by. The current income taxes strangle middle income workers, single or married. I proprose doing away with income tax altogether and impose higher taxes on goods and services. We all spend money on goods every day – poor, middle, and upper-class. Luxurious goods should be the highest taxed. Levying taxes on income just does not make any sense at all. People should keep what they earn and apply it to their expenses in households, tuition, and, of course – goods and services. Do away with the federal and state income taxes and apply the tax straight into goods and services; you use it, you pay. Why should working folks be punished?

    1. Bryce2 years ago

      This policy would actually decrease your household’s spending power and increase that of the wealthy, and especially the super wealthy. A doctor with an income 30x that of a nurse, does not spend 30x more on clothes, or 30x more on transportation, or 30x more on food.

      1. Patrick2 years ago

        Eliminate essentials like milk or food clothing shelter unDer $100, and then your earner of 30x will have a fantastic savings or indulge in a luxury item of a higher tax

      2. Hayden2 years ago

        what doctor makes 30X that of a nurse?

        1. Susan Moruri2 years ago

          Bryce, you are living on a different planet if you think a doctor makes 30x what a nurse makes. Hmm lets see. The average wage for a nurse where I am is 52k. 30x that is over 1.5 million. If that’s what you think docs earn, use your friend Mr. Google and find out how idiotic you sound. On average docs earn 2x to 5x what nurses earn.

    2. Doug2 years ago

      A tax system that is basically a disincentive to spend on goods and services
      is bad macro policy. Doug

    3. Dan M.2 years ago

      Pat, you’re referring to the consumer consumption “FAIRTAX’ imposed on all NEW goods and services sold at the retail level, and which has been proposed and even entered as a Tax reform proposal in Congress … to this date the GOP majority has not moved beyond sub-committee hearings. Lots of comments on the pros and cons on the net, some pointing out that the ‘upper-class’ have the means to minimize the tax on their consumption of ‘Luxurious goods ‘.

    4. Theron2 years ago

      You suggest regressive tax that hurts lower and middle income people more than the wealthy. consider your food and clothing as percentages of your income; consider that these expenses are beyond your control. Now figure a tax on food, all goods and services. As percentages of income, who loses?

      Better to look hard at the corporations who pay nothing in Federal tax or who have shifted wealth to other countries. The percentages of corporate contribution to the tax base has declined sharply over the last 60 years…and even more since the laste 1930’s.

    5. Mark Mathosian2 years ago

      Good idea, wish someone would listen.

  162. d. ramos2 years ago

    The above calculations are ridiculous – How can an income range 3X higher make any sense in any equation e.g. 41K to 125K. Nothing in these populations can compares to one another. A family with an income of 125K has no idea what or how a family making 41K lives and obviously neither do the analyst. It should be more like 41K through 58K and many tiers in between. Your size-adjusted household income is the sole factor we use to determine your income tier. Middle-income households – those with an income that is two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income – had incomes ranging from $41,869 to $125,608 in 2014. Lower-income households had incomes less than $41,869 and upper-income households had incomes greater than $125,608 (all figures computed for three-person households and expressed in 2014 dollars).

  163. Lee2 years ago

    How can I be rated as “poor” with an income of 85.000 dollars (not earned),and assets of 400,500 dollars?

  164. Jason2 years ago

    Does not account for debt or savings. If someone makes $150,000 but pays $2800 a month in student loan plus normal debt (mortgage, car, etc). They are hardly upper class. Likewise someone who makes $75,000 but has paid off home and no other debt could quickly move into upper class. This is completely misleading.

    1. Kevin Smith2 years ago

      Your income class is based on your income, not your net worth.

    2. Bud Meyers2 years ago

      According to Social Security wage date, $150,000 a year is in the top 3%…

      The “median” annual wage is $28,500 a year (half earn more, half earn less).

    3. Mike2 years ago

      I don’t think Janet Yellen put this simple model together, but I also don’t think the authors intended it to be a tool for calculating personal net worth or for assessing lifestyle choices. Income is obviously a legitimate proxy for assessing economic standing. What you do with your income is up to you.

      Interesting – and sobering – piece.

  165. Isobel Rushworth2 years ago

    Your calculation of my wealth is misleading. We are retired living mainly on SS, but our home is long paid for 25 years ago, and we have savings of almost a million. We have absolutely no debts of any kind, and we own our cars. This may not change us from how you categorised us but our assets must make some difference because we are hardly like
    a couple who’s income is less than $41,000 who still have mortgage and car notes to pay.
    I am sure ones wealth/status has to be based on total wealth as well as actual income.

    1. NotNalb2 years ago

      Like a lot of readers, you appear to be taking this personally. As the authors state in the very first sentence, this is only a comparison of incomes, nothing else. For what it is worth, studies like this one have consistently prompted this kind of a reaction: many people classified as “rich” or “high-income” complain that they are just getting by and should be counted in the middle class, while many classified as “poor” or “low-income” argue that they are working and saving and should be counted in the middle class.

      1. Dennis M Callies2 years ago

        Well said.

      2. Theron2 years ago

        WE confuse earning power with class. No longer do we measure class by spending power and possessions alone. The cady doesn’t cut it nor does the white picket fence. Consider wealth generation, not just income from salary. Consider too that the 1% tend to remain invisible until outed.

        1. Donna Rosenberg2 years ago

          Outed? As in ashamed & in hiding for working, making the right decisions & being successful? Since when did that become a sin?

    2. Adam2 years ago

      There is the difference between income and wealth. Income is taxed, wealth’s only “tax” is inflation. Which is the clearer indicator of class/status? High income, low wealth folks (e.g. athletes that earn $1m and spend $2m) may look “rich”, but they’re not. Low income, high wealth folks (e.g. Warren Buffett, who is paid $100,000 per year but is a billionaire) are the ones who are truly “rich”.

      This article is merely discussing income.

      1. Theron2 years ago

        Spot on.

  166. Atul2 years ago

    So average has become above average in America !!

  167. Jeffrey2 years ago

    Im living in the adirondack park,ny on a ssd check with annual income of 14,840. Tax free and maby 1000.00 a year buying and selling things. I live in a 500 sq ft house i built on a lot which cost 10,000 and know that im poor but dont feel poor. I live in a beautiful place,dont work and am getting by seems like if i tripled my income i would just have a bigger house and a newer car and spend more on useless stuff or maybe semi useless as i could really use a few things like a bigger bathroom with a tub, a new roof and money for taxes every year. But im happy with what i do have.

    1. are you retired?2 years ago

      You do not DO anything but take my tax money? SSN? Are you retired? That would be different…

      1. Spence2 years ago

        Can you read? The man said he is on ssd or Social Security Disability. He is not taking your money any more than you are taking up someone else’s space on this planet; someone else who might actually be compassionate like a real human being.

    2. Mark Mathosian2 years ago

      Two thumbs up. You have the right attitude.

    3. Kelvin Sheng1 year ago

      Jeffrey, you can apply for subsidized housing for some disabilities, they will take care of the utilities and meals for you too.

  168. Jwright2 years ago

    Today I am middle class but I retire tomorrow and next week I will be lower class. That is an eye opener!

  169. Brian2 years ago

    Single parent at $138k a year is low middle in the San Jose CA area.

  170. tom2 years ago

    My houshold income is $250000. Family of 3 living together. We live well for sure. We work hard, full time everyday. We still have to watch how we spend each month.
    The middle and lower class are.getting screwed. Lower level earners should make at least 50% more and have sufficient medical insurance.
    The multi millionaires and billionaire class is bulging out of proportion. Some of that income has to stay with labor who fuel the consumer economy. A poor man gets a raise; he buys new shoes for the family and create jobs. A billionaire gets more earnings they dont even know it and the portfolio just gets fatter.

    1. Thomas S2 years ago

      A rich man has a good year, any buys a vacation home, jet or a yacht. And all those people who build vacation homes, Jets and yachts have a good year.

  171. marc2 years ago

    Can’t wait to get my two kids out of the house to move to the upper class. But then two more people will be added to the lower class. Overall the nation loses

  172. David Wang2 years ago

    This doesn’t account for cost of living which can vary wildly between regions. You can get a cozy and spacious apartment in Wisconsin for 600-800$ per month. In NYC or SF, that same apartment would go for 2-3k per month.

    Also as many others have said, net worth is important, as someone with huge amounts of debt will live a very different life than someone who has 0 debt.

    I get it, this is for simplicity but ultimately a pretty unrealistic picture. If you factor in for region and net worth, I think you would find there would be a big deflation of the upper and middle classes.

    1. Anon2 years ago

      David wang of GWPDS?

  173. Chris Walton2 years ago

    if the median us household income is $51,900, then 50 per cent are below that.

    How then could you conclude 51 per cent are “middle class”Mehne almost 50 per cent fall below your bottom for middle class and 30 per cent are above middle class.

    Viewing distribution of HH income looks to me like 28 per cent are middle, 20 per cent upper middle and 5 per cent upper with 23 percent “working class” and 23 per cent poor.

  174. Clarence Johnson2 years ago

    We are well into the upper class but that should be the case since I have 5 degrees including a PhD, and my wife and children all have college degrees (except our 19-year-old daughter who is a senior at Kent State University).

    1. Dave J2 years ago

      I have a BS and an MBA and earn around 29K/year. I can’t count how many jobs I’ve applied for.

      1. Rich Long2 years ago

        What field are your degrees in?

    2. Kevin Smith2 years ago

      5 degrees? So you spent most of your adult life going to school, contributing little to nothing to society? I am also “well into the upper class”, but at least I’ve made substantial contributions to the world which has warranted it.

    3. Theron2 years ago

      I hold a BA, an MA and a PhD. I worked in higher education with an annual income of not more than $47,000/year. I contributed a lot to the students with whom I worked as an advisor, an instructor and as a h.s. teacher. I assisted a great many students to achieve their goals and their potentials. My wife worked in non-profit education and made less.

      Yet, I did not earn as much as academic administrators or even faculty with the same set of credentials. I have no complaints. We have paid the bills, raised a son and have experienced a great deal. We were not willing to do what was necessary to earn great piles of money.

      I am highly irritated by the equating of wealth with success.

      Interestingly, I taught in h.s. in South America where I was respected as an educator even though I did not make a lot of money . In the USA, I made little money and was trashed by the likes of Scott Walker and other politicians out to gain/maintain power.

      Remember, in the words of Bob Dylan: “The masters make the rules for the wise men and the fools.”

  175. Scott61132 years ago

    So many other factors enter in. Region is very important. It is difficult to own a home in the suburban NorthEast on less than $100,000, but the calculator says that’s upper class for a single person. Upper class and you can only rent?
    Debt load is also important. If you are an MD still working off your loans to the tune of $25k a year, have a mortgage that takes another $25k, and make $120,000, you definitely feel middle class.

    1. Steve2 years ago

      I agree Scott, I’m not sure how this is factored either…When a 400 sq.ft apartment can be as much as $450k in New York that could buy a very large house here in Wisconsin. Wages are also higher in larger cities, so with income inequality it’s not even comparing apples to apples from region to region.

  176. Matt2 years ago

    Arthur, I’m with you.
    My wife and I are in our late 20’s with a combined income of $145k…upper class? Not in Southern California.

  177. Sara2 years ago

    This is great but it doesn’t account for student loan debt. My husband and I have a combined debt of $185,000. With $3,000 of our income going to pay our loans each month (yes, each month), it certainly doesn’t feel like we’re in the upper middle class. We’re lucky to be able to maintain the loans but we can’t save for a house and struggle with monthly bills. It seems like student loan debt is a major factor effecting the mobility of the middle class and should be accounted for in this poll.

    1. Brenda2 years ago

      It may not feel like it Sara but I don’t even take home $3000 a month. Yes you are shelling out a lot and I’m sure it bites but my god you have the luxury of paying $3000 and still living!? You are not middle.

      I think that is a big problem, people stop understanding money struggles after they pass a certain level. They “feel” squeezed but keeping up with the Joneses and actually paying your debts vs choosing between eating and paying for gas to get to work are two completely different boats.

      Also making the money makes you upper not being able to hold onto it/save it are all choices you are making.

  178. J W2 years ago

    Using National averaged income levels without correcting for regional cost of living is also lying thru statistics. A family of 4 headed up by senior staff professional/managerial worker earning $145,041 could very well be “middle class” and not “upper class”…in places like Bay Area.

  179. MIchael Braun2 years ago

    This is way to simplistic since it doesn’t figure in net worth. I know plenty of folks who work long hours making a high annual income, but spend every penny they make and more, and are a few missing paychecks away from bankruptcy. While others have a high net worth, have no debt, and have a pretty fabulous life living off of their investments on what would be considered a middle class income. According to this calculator the former would be considered upper class and the latter middle class. But which has the better life? Net worth is a much better indication of a person’s wealth than their income.

    1. Mark Mathosian2 years ago

      Good points.

  180. Demographics2 years ago

    Tried a few scenerios with the demographic calculator. Education appeared to be the largest factor, and marriage always seemed to help.

  181. LaVern Mccarthy2 years ago

    feel like I am in the middle class because I have enough to eat.

    1. tom2 years ago

      God bless you. Id take ten of you over 1 billionaire

  182. Gary2 years ago

    What items are you including in household income? For example, are you including only wages and earnings from self-employment (e.g., business income) or are you also including unearned income such as interest, dividends, capital gains, retirement, Social Security, etc?

  183. Larry2 years ago

    What do the results look like a net worth basis?

  184. Juliana2 years ago

    Would this be more accurate if it took into account assets and debt, and not just income? I have a good income but no assets and lots of student loan debt. It doesn’t feel like “upper” class if I can’t get approved for a loan to buy a modest condo because my debt-to-income ratio is so negatively impacted by my six figures of student loan debt.

  185. John Daschbach2 years ago

    This is meaningless without wealth data! Probably many late middle age and older people with adequate assets (> $2 million) have converted income to capital and reduced income to close to their burn rate to avoid taxes.

  186. Hank2 years ago

    According to this calculator if I were on my own (single) making $25,000.00, I’d still be middle class? In this situation I would barely be able to afford an apartment on my own. This doesn’t seem right, but probably only because I live on the west coast.

  187. Steve2 years ago

    Great study. I wonder what the picture looks like if this is age adjusted? In playing with the calculator it looks like households 45-65 have the highest percentages in the upper income bracket and those 18-24 the least. Is it possible that there is a partial silver lining as a substantial number of older Americans have migrated to upper incomes. Also is it possible that are a large number of those in lower income brackets because that demographic is heavily weighted to younger Americans? Can Pew provide some insights here?

  188. Daniel Pitney2 years ago

    What percentage of middle class households have more than one income source and includes overtime along with working weekends. Middle class means a single income household based on a standard forty hour week. I’m inclined to believe that your figures are somewhat inflated on both ends of the scale. No offence intended.

  189. Chris Nunez2 years ago

    This is very interesting. Surprised that our lower class is at 29%.

  190. SMoore2 years ago

    If there’s any way to factor in location, I think it could make a big difference. $175K for a family of 4 in NJ is not upper class. If I was living somewhere with more affordable housing, property taxes less than 10K a year, I might be.

  191. Jeffrey Thomas2 years ago

    Your assumptions are leading you astray. We have no debts, live like the rich in a house even most rich people would admire in what is arguably the most beautiful setting in the country and we are (according to your criteria) lower class? That tells me your conclusions can’t possibly be sound. It’s not how much money you make that counts; it’s what you do with what you have.

  192. Marcia Lawrence2 years ago

    The calculator does not seem to be functioning.

  193. Dan Barthel2 years ago

    This may be the most frightening thing I’ve read in 2015. When the middle goes, the country goes. Then again, climate change pushing past the inflection point may top this.

  194. Chelsey2 years ago

    This might be a dumb question, but I’m just curious: The HHI you’re asking for people to input — is that before taxes or after taxes?

    1. Richard Fry2 years ago

      Not a dumb question, before taxes please.

      1. Arthur2 years ago

        Sorry but $135K for a family of 3 living in NYC is not upper class.

        1. Me2 years ago

          It says upper income not class… I think upper class needs to be further refined in definition because this does not consider cities like Chicago, SF, NY, Denver etc where income is higher but cost of living is also. Youre right there in observation that this level of income may be consistent with middle class. I think upper class would be better defined as HHI of 250k+/yr regardless of # of ppl. I may be wrong but challenge others to come up with tiers that make more sense. You can always skew data to say what you want it to mean though…

        2. intn2 years ago

          How about asking for a zip code to determine class? This thing said I’m upper class, and there is no way. How about those 2 kids I raised alone after my husband died? That sucked the life out of my bank account, so now I’m having to work harder to make up for raising children.

          1. Theron2 years ago

            Class depends upon more than wealth!

        3. TomNYC2 years ago

          Agree it isn’t that much, but it does fall into the percentage of upper class.

          $135K/yr isn’t that bad, you won’t be considered rich, but at least you won’t have to live paycheck to paycheck, unless you want to live in Upper Westside of Manhattan 🙂

          1. Danny2 years ago

            Keep in mind that $135K is at the bottom of all incomes comprising that 21%.

        4. jayram312 years ago

          Very true, also doesn’t account for those without children either. Doing $150K/year no kids, in Cleveland is the equivalent of the top 1%.

        5. willy2 years ago

          True statement. Student loans need to be considered as well

        6. Jason2 years ago

          I agree, $135k for NYC, SF, San Jose, LA, SD is not upper class.
          It would be in most other places in the country.

        7. jerry2 years ago

          Come to Michigan, you will be doing very well…=)

        8. devon2 years ago

          try doing it with only $35K a year with a family of 3 and tell me $135K isn’t upper class!

        9. Danny2 years ago

          Seems like folks are looking at the calculator more critically than they should – its one indicator of many to consider.

          Second to last paragraph states the limitations of the calculator, including variance across states/regions. Additionally, debt load shouldn’t be factored as this is strictly a comparison of gross income.

    2. casey2 years ago

      Not dumb at all, I was wondering the same thing.

      1. Firefly2 years ago

        Your calculator is not working right now.