October 13, 2019

Middle Class Isn't Just About Money

“My late grandmother drilled into our heads that we were middle class. To her, this was a source of great pride; being middle class wasn’t just better than being poor, it was also better than being rich. And she apparently wasn’t alone. Surveys consistently find that most Americans consider themselves middle class.

Although making more than $100,000 a year puts a household in the top 30 percent of the U.S. income distribution, a 2015 Pew survey found that most such people use some form of the label “middle class” to describe themselves.

Some of this may be due to differences in local living costs — $100,000 is a great income in rural Kansas, but doesn’t allow for much luxury in San Francisco. But some is probably due to the value Americans place on the idea of being middle class. Like my grandmother, they want to see themselves as being neither rich nor poor.”

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