What is it like to be middle class in America? This status can refer to more than income, whether it is the level of education, type of profession, economic security, home ownership, or social and political values. If we’re talking purely about income, the Pew Research Center has a more accurate definition in terms of ranges of tens of thousands of dollars.
The middle class has been shrinking over the past five decades as more Americans have entered higher or lower income brackets, according to the Pew Research Center.
Data from 2021 shows that the share of the population in the middle class continues to hover around 50%, where it has been since 2011. Before that year, the share of the middle class that Americans have steadily fallen from a peak of 61% in 1971.
HOW MUCH DO YOU MAKE TO BE MIDDLE CLASS IN THE UNITED STATES?
According to the Pew Research Center, to be middle class you need to earn between two-thirds and twice the average American family income, which in 2021 is US $70,784, according to the United States Census Bureau.
So, you must earn between US$47,189 and US$141,568 to technically belong to this socioeconomic level.
WHAT IS THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE MIDDLE CLASS IN CITIES?
While there is a standard average income to define a person or family as middle class, other factors such as family size and location must be considered.
Below, find out the income levels of the middle class in the 20 most populous metropolitan areas in the country, according to the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
- New York, Newark and Jersey City: from US$56,000 to US$169,000.
- Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim: from US$55,000 to US$155,000.
- Chicago, Naperville and Elgin: from US$52,000 to US$156,000.
- Dallas, Forth Worth and Arlington: from US$51,000 to US$152,000.
- Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington: from US$53,000 to US$160,000.
- Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach: from US$43,000 to US$128,000.
- Atlanta, Sandra Springs and Alpharetta: from US$52,000 to US$155,000.
- Boston, Cambridge and Newton: from US$67,000 to US$202,000.
- Phoenix, Mesa and Chandler: from US$50,000 to US$151,000.
- San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley: from US$77,000 to US$232,000.
- Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario: from US$51,000 to US$154,000.
- Detroit, Warren and Dearborn: from US$45,000 to US$134,000.
- Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue: from US$68,000 to US$203,000.
- Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington: from US$58,000 to US$175,000.
- San Diego, Chula Vista and Carlsbad: from US$61,000 to US$182,000.
- Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater: from US$42,000 to US$126,000.
- Denver, Aurora and Lakewood: from US$60,000 to US$181,000.
- Baltimore, Columbia and Towson: from US$58,000 to US$173,000.