How much do you have to make to be considered "Middle Class"?

United States
September 27, 2010 7:04pm CST
I was listening to a radio show this afternoon, and a women called in talking about how upset she was with the country and her financial situation. She was so upset because our country was paying for programs that she would never use, and that her "middle class" family couldn't even find money to invest with. The host asked her how much money her "middle class" family made, and she said that combined they made just under $200,000 a year. Now I consider myself to be middle class, and I make about a quarter of that. So is my family "middle class", or is her's?
1 person likes this
10 responses
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
28 Sep 10
I'm pretty much in agreement with others who say upper middle class. Now there are other factors than just income. One should also take into consideration how big her family is and where she lives. If they're living in New York City and have a family of 5, $200,000 just isn't going to get you what it would if you were a family of three in Tampa. I learned how painful high costs of living can be when I made the mistake of moving to Miami thinking the job I took making $46k would make me feel rich. I was so so wrong as I'd been living in cities with much lower costs of living before that.
2 people like this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
28 Sep 10
Denver isn't cheap, but it's not Miami. Cost of living is about 6% lower, average salaries are 6% higher. Florida is nice, and people there are certainly happy to be without a state income tax. Miami just stinks and is ridiculously expensive. It also has the 5th highest poverty rate in the country and has NEVER had a republican or libertarian mayor. The current mayor is a crook who cut the salaries of all county workers and laid many people off while giving his cronies raises as high as $50,000 RETROACTIVELY to hide them from budget audits in 2009. He also raised property taxes 13% despite the fact that Miami is already being crippled by foreclosures. Heck, we found out our landlord was being foreclosed on the day after we moved into our apartment there.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
28 Sep 10
Debater sir you must be apart of the lower class. Maybe the answer is both your family and her family. What really determines who is middle class and any other class except for extreme. No one is going to claim the Bill Gates is middle class nor is some in who is live in government housing, but where exactly does the lower class turn into the middle class and where does the middle class turn into the upper class?
2 people like this
• United States
28 Sep 10
Ah, that is the question now isn't it? Where does "middle class" start and end? I personally don't think that someone that makes three times the median income on this country would be considered "middle class". But, that is my opinion.
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
28 Sep 10
I agree with dark_joev...this woman is in the upper middle class income range. The middle class in this country is actually an extremely large group since it consists of lower middle, middle and upper middle...before you take that leap into "rich".
• United States
28 Sep 10
But what do we consider rich? This women makes three times the median income in this country. I am not question your opinion, I am just asking a question.
@evanslf (485)
29 Sep 10
I think there is a difference between middle class and middle income. $200000 is certainly not middle income, if not rich, then it is certainly well off. In any case, middle class, as the term is traditionally understood, does not refer solely to income, but other factors as well (ie education and upbringing, manners and etiquette, position and respect in society, etc)
@dark_joev (3043)
• United States
28 Sep 10
I would believe this to be upper middle class not just middle class. Last I heard middle class was roughly 40,000 a year. would be in the middle and I think that number is a little low as it is what every the median average for yearly income is. would be the middle class if you are below that but above poverty line then you are lower middle class and if you are above the median average then you are upper middle class.
1 person likes this
• Vietnam
28 Sep 10
I agree with dark_joev too
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 10
I don't think that three times what most consider "middle class" would be considered that. The problem I have with the term "middle class" is that no one knows how much money that really is. I would say that "middle class" we be the median income of Americans plus or minus 20%. But, that is just me.
@ersmommy1 (12600)
• United States
28 Sep 10
I think the income and the number of people in your family are included. If you make $40,000 a year and that income must support say a family of 7..2 adults and 5 kids..that isn't a lot. I don't think that puts them in the "middle". This woman would be definitely in the "upper category. But one thing is for sure..the middle class is shrinking!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 10
Actually I think the middle class is expanding because of people like this women who are really upper class, but don't want to admit it.
@Lore2009 (7389)
• United States
28 Sep 10
I think middle class applies to all who are not billionaire or poor.. so the range is probably wide!!!! Which is so not fair.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 10
Middle Class is probably better defined by each individual area. Especially if the cost of housing is higher then someone making $100k in California might not be considered middle class whereas someone in Texas making a $100K would fall under the middle class. I came up with this mainly because a home in California that is similar to a home found in Texas would cost as much as 4 times higher depending on the area. It's all a bunch of needless information really. If you feel poor then you probably are, but if you don't worry about money then your probably at least middle class.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
28 Sep 10
That's a good question. I actually agree with Taskr, it really depends on where you live. Someone earning close to $200,000 in my area would definitely be "rich" rather than "middle class" by most people around here but my brother and his wife lived in NYC years ago and even then that wouldn't go very far, which is why they no longer live there. I also agree with what others have said, that "middle class" takes in a pretty large range of incomes. In a way I guess it's as much a state of mind as anything. If you FEEL that you're middle class, you are but if you FEEL poor, you are poor. I know before I had my health problems and had to stop working we'd take a family vacation every year and usually stay about two weeks. Some of our friends of relatives would joke that we must be "rich", but we certainly were NOT. However, we didn't have a big new house and a big mortgage payment and tax bill, we didn't have two car payments like some of our friends did and we made sacrifices throughout the rest of the year so we could take a nice long vacation. Annie
• United States
28 Sep 10
Too much apparently. I don't care what I'm considered as long as I can survive in the kind of world careless people thought everyone would like. Trust me; middle class standards change in every state and country. In Maine: Middle class would be about 10,000 dollars a year, I suppose.