What do you consider middle class?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2003
What do you consider middle class?
26
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 10:54am
There's been a lot of talk about money on this board lately (McMansions, college funds, etc). Made me wonder...what do you consider middle class in your area? Poverty level? Rich? What's the figure?

In our area, Oakland county Michigan, I think a family of 4 could live nicely on about $60-65,000 a year. And I would call that "middle class" because we have a LOT of families making $200,000+ and then there are plenty making less. In our town you could buy an older (smaller) house and have a couple of cars on that salary. I think. I don't have any real data to back that up.

Poverty....now I know that the actual governmental standards are a lot lower, but I think a family of 4 trying to live on $30,000-35,000 a year is pretty poor. Around here. I had a hard time living on that amt. when I was single (with car pmts, ins, rent, etc.).

Your thoughts?

Meldi
Meldi

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 11:32am
Median income here is about $80K.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 11:49am
>>Median income here is about $80K. I'd say middle class in this area is between 60 and 100K total household income.

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In our town, median household income is approx. 64K. However, its significantly higher than the surrounding towns, as we're in the midst of farmland/forests.

I think once a household nears the 100K level around here, that family would be considered upper-middle; approaching rich...if there is such a thing.

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 11:57am
IMO middle class is having enough money to own a decent home, a decent car, feed and clothe your family, provide decent insurance, and still have some discretionary income to spend on other things.

I really couldn't tell you for certain what number would work around here. I can guess that middle class would start at around $65K and extend upwards to about $115K or so.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 12:03pm
Median income here is about 71k. I'd call that about middle class I guess-up to about 100k. I think anything over 100k would be *upper middle*.

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 12:04pm
Hmmmmmmmm. Around here (as in the Salt Lake metro area), I'd say that a family of four could probably live comfortably on $50,000. Own a starter home, coupon shop, stick tight to a budget and make it, but without any *luxury*. So I'd say that is middle class.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 12:08pm
HOLLIE!!!

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 12:22pm
In central NJ I would think around 100K. Housing and property taxes are very high (we have "low" property tax and it's $4,400/year) and that is what makes me think that 100K would be very middle class.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 1:00pm
1)Poor people have no choice but to worry about whether their monthly income stream will cover food, clothing, shelter and transportation this month. Any family of 4 under $50,000 people will probably have these worries because thats $2000/month take home here, and no matter which way you cut it...any kind of decent housing WILL be at least $1000/month, even rented. Transportation, $200/month. Food, $600/month. That doesn't leave alot of room for anything else. So when anything happens - and stuff happens - they are going to get behind. They don't have alot of choice.

2)Middle class people worry about how much recreation, entertainment and vacation they can afford this year, after food, clothing, shelter, transportation AND savings are accounted for. They have choices, and usually have some room to move their costs around to allow for more, or less longer term savings. I guess, $60,000 and up you probably do have these options to some degree. Up to... whatever. Until the self supporting wealth is established, people are just another level of middle class.

3)Rich people worry about how their investment decisions today will affect the wealth available to future generations. Real time income streams aren't much of an issue, they happen as the by product of the investment decisions made with overall wealth accumulation and growth in mind. These people, in order to fund at least their own adult lifetime of say, 55yrs, are probably worth several millions of dollars, minimum.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 1:27pm
Not just how much $$$. How you made it & how you handle it count, too. I think that SES is as much about attitude as it is about money in many cases.

In my definition, middle-class means at least some post-secondary education, and some investment income, if only a few dollars a year. A middle-class family will buy a home instead of rent, and a retirement fund of some sort will be a priority. Usually they will make enough (and manage it well enough) to have an emergency savings cushion. Middle-class people tend to believe that debt is bad, unless it is mortgage debt.

I've seen workers who make a lot more money than I do, but who save none of it, and who are content w/ a HS diploma for themselves and their children. Many of them rent indefinitely because they don't wish to tie up money in a mortgage. They believe that debt is inevitable. To me, someone who lives like that is not really middle-class, regardless of how much money he has.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-26-2004 - 2:34pm
I suspect that most peoples' answers would be "whatever's within a few ten thousands of dollars up or down from what my family makes," regardless of how hilarious that actually is, considering what the median household income in the U.S.

Who isn't middle of the road as compared to their own neighborhood? I suspect there are few people here who aren't on a very nice road in a very nice neighborhood, though, and that doesn't make one "middle class."

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