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View Poll Results: Household annual income of 'middle class'
<$40,000 9 4.97%
$40,000 - $50,000 20 11.05%
$50,000 - $70,000 64 35.36%
$70,000 - $100,000 65 35.91%
$100,000 - $150,000 16 8.84%
$150,000 - $250,000 7 3.87%
Voters: 181. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-28-2008, 11:44 AM
 
Location: WA
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I am really tired of the rhetoric going on about the ‘middle class’. Not only can I not find a consistent definition but see people with incomes anywhere from $30k to $200k claiming to be middle class. Apparently the average family income in this country is about $48,000 which would imply ‘middle’.

Obviously you could also measure class by assets, housing, education level, political power, etc. but income is easier to quantify. Per capita numbers will also vary greatly from other measures but a definition will have to pick some unit… I would think the household level is a reasonable view.

What do you think is middle class as far as household income?
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:56 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
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I think there is no consistent definition of the middle class, you'll find as many as people you ask.

I have a concept of the "golden age" middle class in the US, which means to me the standard of living that one could enjoy from roughly the 1950s to 1990s period with basically one salary in an average job.

Right now, I think that means around $100,000-$150,000 per year, maybe a bit more in certain regions of the US.

But even that definition is not satisfying and, to be sure, it will keep changing.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:03 PM
 
1,788 posts, read 3,469,675 times
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You're right. I know couples who have a net worth of over $1 million and never made over $50K in a year between them. If you're in your twenties you can be a millionair in your early 50s making just $40K per year if you do things right. Problem is nobody knows how to save and invest these days. All Americans do is live on credit today, then wake up in their 60s and cry because they have nothing.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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I think you are confused... there are different stratifications within the middle class itself... there are low middle class, middle middle class, and high middle class....

With the average household income (which deceptively includes singles and families) at 55k...

I would say poverty is 0k-15k (Can't really afford anything)

I would say lower lower class is 16k-25k (Can afford stuff but just barely)
I would say middle lower class is 26k-35k (Can afford stuff but can't save)
I would say upper lower class is 36k-45k (Can afford stuff and barely save)

I would say low middle class is 46k-60k (Can afford stuff and save significantly but not if they have a family)
I would say middle middle class is 61k-100k (Can afford stuff and save significantly even with a family)
I would say upper middle class is 101k-160k (Can afford stuff and save regardless of economic conditions)

I would say low wealthy is 161k-250k
I would say middle wealthy is 251k-500k
I would say upper wealthy is 501k-1M

I would say uber-wealthy is 1M+
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
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I voted $70,000 + but I sure could be wrong. I think evilnewbie is probably more correct.

Also, it really depends on where you live. $50,000 in Georgia is a whole different ball game than $50,000 in California.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:28 PM
 
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The problem with comparing $50k in Georgia to $50k in Cali is that they are STILL in the above rankings they just "choose" to overpay for things... they "choose" to overpay for a house and stuff... Choosing to overpay for things does not mean that are less middle class because you are still middle class, you just choose to overpay for things... I wouldn't separate these people because they choose to overpay... if people stopped overpaying for things, prices will go down but as it is, people are inherently greedy so they "buy" things as soon as it touches the showroom floor... people want to live in Cali, and are willing to overpay to live there but it doesn't really change their class standing... they "choose" to overpay... I wouldn't let them whine about "paying too much", they choose to pay that much...

I would like to add one thing... tax loopholes ONLY applies to the upper wealth and uber-wealthy class... therefore the brunt of taxes is placed squarely on the upper middle class to middle wealthy class...
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Old 09-28-2008, 05:06 PM
 
1,020 posts, read 2,208,798 times
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Quote:
people want to live in Cali, and are willing to overpay to live there but it doesn't really change their class standing... they "choose" to overpay... I wouldn't let them whine about "paying too much", they choose to pay that much...
People want to live in that hellhole? Truthfully, more people want to live in Atlanta these days than LA (ATL gained ~1.1 million people in 7 years, vs LA w/ 400-500K during the same period (not including San Bern/Riverside... they're not LA)) yet ATL's housing has been affordable over that same period. That is what baffled me during the housing bubble. Did Cali just not issue any housing starts? Was there THAT MUCH speculation to drive up prices? Housing prices in ATL rose about 2-3% per year, a respectable amount, while LA started going up up up at 25% per year, and is now crashing.

Also, there is another problem w/ the choosing to be broke approach to this. What about those who lived in California before this bubble? When it was still attainable at California median incomes? All of a sudden, these *******s decide to drive up home prices, and they get priced out due to increasing property taxes. That happened to many that I know here from LA/OC (and, they're glad they moved before that crash... they sold they're homes in the 600s, bought bigger here in the 200s, and have a nice nest egg)... priced out because of property taxes. Not to mention everything else started going up. It STILL baffles me why anyone would want to live in that awful place.

Sure, you have the beach, but won't you be too busy working 2 jobs to pay rent/mortgage/bills to enjoy it?
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
3,927 posts, read 7,725,151 times
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are we talking gross income or net income? How does number of people in household fit into this as well?

According to you guys, I should be doing pretty well right now and I can tell you, we are not!

We live in the South so lower cost of living. But, we own our own business and the taxes are killing us! Hire help and it is even worse!

Our net is pitiful after all expenses and taxes for business is taken care of. Not much left over for an actual income. sigh.
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I would say this would largely depend on where you live. Middle class in NYC would be a huge difference compared to middle class in Houston.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
I would say uber-wealthy is 1M+
Think again... try more like 75M+. I'd even go as far to say towards 100M+/yr.

The top 400 earners in the US had an average income of ~300M/year. And, as you go towards the top, the gap gets infinitely bigger from the last income. It's quite fascinating, actually, and a bit disheartening at the same time.
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