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Old 02-10-2009, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Boston MA, by way of NYC
2,768 posts, read 4,117,246 times
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Oh honey - you are invited as well - I'll whip up some arroz con gandulez and pernil for the occassion. I was just figuring on waiting until I headed south and threw the pig on the roaster in the back yard of the home that I will now be able to afford being Middle Class in Florida. But, if you prefer the arctic weather, you can pick Crisp up on your way over to my house. We can all sit in my humble abode(?) chat and have dinner.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:23 AM
 
3,225 posts, read 5,272,779 times
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Okay crisp, I do know that you have in the past shared a lot of accurate analyses on other topics including the concept of race and ethnicity and I do agree with a lot of what you're saying about class definitions by the status quo. I just feel that the reason many do not accept the distinctions set by demographers, etc., is that at the end of the day, they have their own perception of how well off they feel and then deal with that reality in their daily lives.

I do agree, however, that one must have some formulaic way of classification if only for anaylitical purposes.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 02-10-2009 at 08:31 AM.. Reason: Deleted quoted text
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:27 AM
 
3,369 posts, read 7,412,336 times
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I think that this issue is part fact and part opinion; it is factual in that we are dealing with an empirical matter (income statistics), but at the same time opinion can be injected in setting the bounds at what is "low" "middle" and "upper" income. However, when someone is giving their opinion, I can only accept it within the bounds of reasonableness. To argue that "upper middle class" begins at the 99th percentile is, to me, patently unreasonable, going against not only what academics and demographers opine, but also against the plain meaning of "upper middle" itself.

Last edited by crisp444; 02-10-2009 at 09:37 AM..
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,339 posts, read 15,374,241 times
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My main issue is with census data, since it does not interpret the statistics quoted. Just because one's income falls into a certain category in a particular geographic location does not mean that they embody that class distinction. It does not matter where the HHI falls in a percentage, since it has to be looked at in the context of its MSA. Aggregate country-wide statistics might make it appear that people are wealthier than they are, but when looked at in light of the conditions present in a particular area, the statistics tell much more of a tale.

People do not fall into a demographic group solely based upon their income. It is much more complex, no matter how many households make above a certain income. $150-160k in Nebraska might be upper middle class, but in NYC it's not anywhere near the distinction for upper middle class, especially with a family. A household may fall into a percentage of higher income households, in a general sense, but when one looks at the NYC region and its costs, among the highest in the nation, that does affect the interpretation of the data.

A straight interpretation yields statistical rankings that skew the data towards the upper end of the strata, which in itself indicates that further studies to actually plot the data relative to the geographic location will yield the demarkations for that area. The top 10% of NYC region households will earn significantly more than the top 10% of a national statistic. It's a misapplication of general trend data to use statistics in such a manner, and it would never work in a feasibility study, for example, where the distinctions for the marketplace are required as opposed to the generic data that states that a prevailing percentage of households earn above a specific amount.

IMO, that's why general census statistics are interesting, but not a practical application in the real world as one needs to drill down to the next level of data, to get to the market based income distributions. This gives a much more accurate picture as to what the HHI measures state, reflective of a particular area.

It's not about feelings or attacks over different points of view, it's regarding the specificity of the data provided. National trends are not specific enough from which to draw conclusions based upon the NYC market, both for labor and for costs.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,339 posts, read 15,374,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjohnson4381 View Post
Thanks for the props! You guys have been really friendly and helpful. I hope I meet people like you when/if I move there.
Thanks for the kind words. Don't worry, most New Yorkers are actually a nice bunch of people, though sometimes harried.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:41 AM
 
3,225 posts, read 5,272,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisp444 View Post
I think that this issue is part fact and part opinion; it is factual in that we are dealing with an empirical matter (income statistics), but at the same time opinion can be injected in setting the bounds at what is "low" "middle" and "upper" income. However, when someone is giving their opinion, I can only accept it within the means of reasonableness. To argue that "upper middle class" begins at the 99th percentile is, to me, patently unreasonable, going against not only what academics and demographers opine, but also against the plain meaning of "upper middle" itself.
Good point. I do believe that, however subjective our own evaluations are based on our own fellings about economic class and other attributes, we all have to go to the same starting line in order to proceeed further. I can see where one may perceive that class distinctions based on income classifications should be moving parameters based on geographic area - but one can still tweak the limits for each classification without losing sight of the larger picture.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:41 AM
 
1,437 posts, read 1,946,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelsa1075 View Post
pitt - this debate can go on forever - I just think Crisp's idea of reality is a bit skewed do to here 24 years on earth and obviously a lot of that time has been spent in books. That wasn't a cheap shot as she stated earlier, but a fact she is 10-20 years younger than the people whose ideas are obviously so different from hers. The statistics that she brings include that of people who are on welfare - they are in a different category altogether - they get help from every corner. Working/middle class do not. Frankly, I don't care what statistics say, I know I do not lead an upper middle class life style. It is almost as if she is saying if we live above poverty level we should be thankful. Wanting to send your child to a school in a safe neighborhood, where you can actually afford the home, tax and commute to the city is just way too much to ask. I just think when she has a little more life experience she will see things differently. If not then I hope that she completely plans on giving up most of her salary that she will get as an attorney, so she can prove the point that you can live in NY COMFORTABLY on 50K.
That's why 'stats' got to be taking with a grain of salt. There's so many factors that go into to them, you'd have to see all the data that they gathered to make those claims before you can make a statement. I can't see how anybody living in the country's most expensive city can can claim that 160 grand a year is "upper middle class" though.

Ain't the homes out on L.I. property taxes likes 12 grand a year or more for an average house? And what's the average house there cost? Does being a homeowner mean that you're "upper middle class"?

I think alot of people think that the "working poor" are some how "middle class". And therefore, ANYONE who has any kind of standard of living, is somehow "upper middle class". That's just not the case, there's a difference that I really think he's getting confused with. Just cause a married couple both work, doesn't mean that they're "middle class". He doesn't probably know that 30 or so years ago, alot women actaully stayed home to raise their children. Today that's almost unheard of, but it did exist. He's too young to really understand that, so I guess I can understand why he thinks the way he does. People only know what they see and hear.

Most doctors live a pretty good lifestyle, I think everyone can agree on that. But, most doctors marry other doctors. Just like alot of lawyers marry other lawyers, etc etc . Or they marry people with similiar types of earning potentials. Take your average GP doctor, who's raising 2 or 3 kids, and who's wife is just a stay at home mom with no career of her own. Nobody's going to go hungry in that family, but they also won't be living the "upper middle class" lifestyle either. But when you have 2 doctor incomes, now that's a different story.

I seen a special on 20/20 about 3 years ago, it was on doctors and medicine. Two doctors that they interviewed both said, "If your getting into medicine for the money, you're getting into the wrong business"! Now nobody saying that doctors (especially surgeons) can't make alot of money. But they better speacialize in something other than being a 'family doctor', and they better be ready to work alot of overtime too.

The "upper middle class" have to work like everyone else. The big difference is 'if' they decided to live a "middle class" lifestyle, they could bank alot of money and retire alot younger and in more style.

The middle class family's can't take 15 or 20 thousand dollar vacations to Europe, upper middle class one's can. Those are the types of differences that seperate the two. I listed the examples in an earlier post and he agreed, then somehow he began to disagree.

I never realized how many people could disagree on something that I firgured was common knowledge.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:46 AM
 
3,369 posts, read 7,412,336 times
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Bmwguydc, I appreciate your response and I must say that of all the forumers on City-Data, your posts tend to impress me more than most others. However, we disagree on a fundamental point: whether class distinctions should vary from MSA to MSA. I say no, you say yes, and I doubt any amount of further debating is going to make either one of us agree with the other. On that point, neither one of us is "right". Thank you again for the reasonable and well-thought reply.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,339 posts, read 15,374,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsteelerfan View Post
Ain't the homes out on L.I. property taxes likes 12 grand a year or more for an average house? And what's the average house there cost? Does being a homeowner mean that you're "upper middle class"?
Yes, and in Westchester as well, where modest houses can have property tax bills that approach the price of a new Toyota each year. That's not an affluent house, either, it's a split foyer or ranch house -- even a modest cape cod style house can have a $9k tax bill. I would not classify people who live in such houses as upper middle class, just middle class.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,339 posts, read 15,374,241 times
Reputation: 4991
Quote:
Originally Posted by crisp444 View Post
Bmwguydc, I appreciate your response and I must say that of all the forumers on City-Data, your posts tend to impress me more than most others. However, we disagree on a fundamental point: whether class distinctions should vary from MSA to MSA. I say no, you say yes, and I doubt any amount of further debating is going to make either one of us agree with the other. On that point, neither one of us is "right". Thank you again for the reasonable and well-thought reply.
I think we're just looking at the same data in a different way, and I appreciate your point of view and arguments as well. We can agree to disagree on that point. And, I thank you as well for your reasoned assertions, and value your contributions to the C-D community as well.
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