What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (2023)

The majority of us are middle class, defined as neither rich nor poor. Seriously, that’s the official definition of middle class, because depending on who you talk to and where they live, you’ll get different answers.

A $50,000 household income for a family of four is absolutely middle class in Des Moines, Iowa. However, in New York City, a $50,000 household income is closer to poverty. Being middle class depends on where you live!

What Is A Middle-Class Income?

Statisticians say middle class is a household income between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. Anything above $100,000 is deemed “upper middle class”. It’s funny how there’s no usage of the categories “lower class” and “upper class” isn’t it?

It’s as if someone didn’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. In cities such as San Francisco and New York, middle class income might very well extend all the way up to $300,000 given the median house price in San Francisco is over $1,600,000 in 2020. Further, it regularly costs $1,000+/sqft in New York City to buy.

Whether you make $30,000 a year or $250,000 a year, I venture to guess the majority will consider ourselves middle class. There’s an important psychology involved, and that is when it comes to financials, nobody wants to stray too far from the core.

If you consider yourself rich, you will be hunted down. And if you start considering yourself poor, others will ridicule you for being dumb or lazy.

Classifying yourself as middle class keeps you safe and warm!


As a kid, there were only two things I ever wanted: 1) a Nintendo console and 2) a camera.I never got either because my parents wouldn’t allow me to waste my time on video games, and a camera was a grown up toy.

It’s a shame, because it would have been great to capture my childhood and reminisce. Ah, the inability of the middle class to have everything they want unless they work for it!

My family was by no means poor, they just weren’t rich. In fact, we had everything we needed – food, clothing, love, and shelter. We lead very simple lives, buying second hand clothes, living in a suburbian townhouse, and driving beater cars.

I still remember the paintless, 15 year-old Nissan Datsan my father drove. I’d duck in horror whenever he’d drop me off at school.I even snuck the metal beast out in a torrential downpour and two hubcaps flew off while I was doing burnouts. My parent didn’t even know, the car was that pitiful!

Most wealthy people didn’t grow up with a Butler named Belvedere. Instead, they grew up middle class just like many of us. I’m always so disappointed when President Obama pits the rich against the poor since the chances are very high that we’ve all been in the same middle class once before.

The top 1% might even have more perspective than the majority of us.They know what it’s like to not have much, and now know what it’s like to afford almost anything.

We should draw on their experiences. After all, “the rich” are also the ones who donate the most to charity, provide jobs, and provide investment capital for our start-up ideas.


What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (1)

Growing up middle class lets me appreciate all the things I have today.I can’t imagine growing up rich because I would probably always feel inadequate compared to my parents.

Imagine living in a 8,000 square foot mansion your entire life, only to be able to afford a 800 square foot fixer several years after college?

Wouldn’t it be nice to roll around around in a S500 Benzo with a driver, but only afford a Toyota Yaris upon graduation. After all, Americans are gobbling up average new cars prices at $50,000 today! Only the rich or fools are paying so much for a car in my opinion.

(Video) Why middle class kids get the best jobs - BBC Stories

How about eating toro sashimi and prime rib every weekend with the folks, and all you can afford now is the occasional Panda Express.Yuck.

The middle class is what makes America hum.We’re either a part of the middle class now, or have been there once before. In other words, we’re all about the same, so let’s treat each other the same.

No more bickering between different socio-economic classes.We all have the same rights and freedoms to do whatever we want, forever.

Related posts about the middle class:

The Top One Percent Income Levels By Age

Who Makes Over One Million A Year?

What Is Considered Mass Affluent?

Great Richer Through Real Estate

Being middle class is nice. But it’s better to be rich. Real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom because it is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income.

With interest rates down, the value of cash flow is up. Further, the pandemic has made working from home more common. Real estate should be in high demand for years to come.

Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms. Both are free to sign up and explore.

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the way to go.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends. If you have a lot more capital, you can build you own diversified real estate portfolio.

Recommendation For Building Wealth

Sign up forEmpower Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. You can use Personal Capital to help monitor illegal use of your credit cards and other accounts with their tracking software.

In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.

After you link all your accounts, use theirRetirement Planning calculatorthat pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms.

I’ve been using Empower Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.

What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (2)

More Recommendations To Keep In Touch

Pick up a copy ofBuy This, Not That,myinstantWall Street Journal bestseller. The book helps you make more optimal investment decisions so you can live a better, more fulfilling life.You can pick up a copy on sale atAmazon today.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 55,000+ others and sign up for thefree Financial Samurai newsletterandposts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009.

(Video) Why You're Not “Middle Class”


  1. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (4)Patrick Crawley says

    I am a 38 year old firefighter living in the Chicago suburbs in a nice but mid-sized house that we pay about $1200 a month for in rent. I currently make around $50,000, and my wife earns about $75,000 as a registered nurse as a hospital, so our household income comes to about $125,000 a year before taxes, a very decent/good income. We have a family of six- me, my wife Shannon, my son Kieran, my other son Aidan, my daughter Bridget, and my other daughter Fiona. We live a comfortable lifestyle as a solidly middle class family, if not upper middle class. I grew up the son of a janitor and a maid, and my wife the daughter of a taxi driver and a nursing home aide, so we know what it’s like to grow up poor and working class. My wife and I vote Democrat, but are very moderate.

    LOWER CLASS: Unemployed/part-time menial unskilled job, migrant farm work
    WORKING CLASS: Blue collar, manual laborers, retail, service work, clerical, manufacturing
    LOWER MIDDLE CLASS: Low-level office work/skilled craftsmen (electrician, plumber)
    MIDDLE CLASS: Semi professionals (firefighters, nurses, cops, teachers, social workers)
    UPPER MIDDLE CLASS: Professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers, university professors)
    UPPER CLASS: Top-level CEO’s and executives, celebrities, movie stars, high-rung politicians

    • What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (5)Shasta says

      The upper class is divided into two groups: The Lower Upper class is what you have stated for Upper class. The Upper Upper class are the aristocrats. It’s pretty much a closed caste. These are those who do not work and they don’t have to. Money has been in their family for generations–at least 100 years.


  2. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (6)Katie says

    I hope y’all know that 20,000 or 30,000 isn’t really middle class if you make a salary of 50,000 dollars or more then you are middle class, that is the national definition of middle class in terms of money. I’m not trying to be rude,it’s just true.

    (Video) Why The Middle Class Will Never Win...


  3. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (7)GoGmaGo says

    Interesting feed. In my mid-50’s, life is full of surprises; many of them helplessly leaving unsuspecting people in poverty, and others quite the opposite. I would have never thought I would end up in this financial situation, but it has taken years as a single mother, now a grandmother, and underachiever to become active in changing my future. More than a decade ago, my husband abandoned our family for greener pastures. Since we married out of H.S. and I failed to graduate, I was left with no career or financial resources for sustaining our family. I attended university for three years, but my children needed to eat, so I quit for a job at a call center. I am grateful for the education I did receive and all the help I received from state institutions, but I could not sacrifice my children’s future for my own. We were desperately poor. We lost our home, vehicles, credit, etc. Fast forward to now… my girls will be graduating university soon in Chem Engineering and Mathematics. I taught them to choose their majors based on employment opportunities.
    NEVER FORGET BEING POOR. It’s not so much the lack of quality of lifestyle that is important in the condition, but the seclusion and isolation it drives one to, and the potential outcome of depression and often very poor choices left in its wake. Remember the quality of your life as experience, not wasteful purchases that end up being landfill property. Enjoy what you are able to purchase but don’t be capricious or wasteful in the process. Above all, be courteous in all communications. Self-entitlement and self-absorbed behavior say more about lack of self-confidence than a mythological social status. There are no conclusions that are so set in stone that one can’t be forward thinking and progressive to better conditions for others, too.
    We’ll see how it all works out. Now, I am starting to save money. This is a first, and makes me very nervous as well.


  4. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (8)s mac says

    those old Datsuns are worth some money man..you can turn them into straight monsters. ive seen one at the tracks beating ferraris, and corvettes


  5. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (9)SallyB says

    Has any one been watching the news? The average Chicago teacher’s pay is $76,000, plus benefits and when they retire receive around $45,000 a year, plus their healthcare. And, didn’t they just get a nice pay raise over the next 4 years? Guess it depends on where you live.


    • What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (10)Financial Samurai says

      (Video) 15 Signs You’re in the Middle Class

      Wow, not bad and good for them!

      That $45,000 a year for life after sound sweet! That’s equivalent to about $2.25 mil at a 2% risk free rate!


  6. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (11)Financial Samurai says

    Mitt Romney says the middle class is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. Hmmm. I guess in SF and NYC!


  7. What's A Middle-Class Income? Bet You Don't Know! (12)Tracy says

    Isn’t it a little peculiar that people today love to talk about “middle class” like it’s the norm? It really strikes me as odd whenever suburbanites speak as though they somehow understand financial struggle. There’s only financial statement in all the world that I truly believe (in general speaking terms): People that make 6 figures or more are lucky and/or blessed, people who live above their means and get to live in suburbia are considered “middle class”, and everyone else either left down in the gutter, or caught somewhere in the muck of the gray area between what’s considered “poverty level” and that wonderful dead zone of income where there’s not really enough to survive but the government tells you to f^ off.


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