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What is Middle Class?

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Old 01-26-2007, 02:55 PM   #1
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What is Middle Class?

I just keep hearing middle class this middle class that and I just don't know what these people are talking about anymore. What is your definition of middle class?
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: What is Middle Class?

I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:17 PM   #3
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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Originally Posted by gibbsisgod View Post
I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.
What about people who are single? Is a single person making 70K middle class?
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:19 PM   #4
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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Originally Posted by saden1 View Post
What about people who are single? Is a single person making 70K middle class?
I would say that a single person amking 70K is close to upper-middle class. After all, the average household income is something like $45K.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:20 PM   #5
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Re: What is Middle Class?

I wouldn't even go as far as putting a monetary value on it. I would consider middle class as a person/couple/family that are able to live fairly comfortably on their current salary, without having to live beyond their means. A little debt is ok, but not to the point where one or two more falls and the only means to get out is to declare bankruptcy.

But there are so many things to consider when defining a "middle class". Does it divide into 3 sectors (Lower, Middle, Upper)? Do you include the working class? Do you use a salary to define it? Can you live paycheck to paycheck and still be considered Middle Class?
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:28 PM   #6
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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I wouldn't even go as far as putting a monetary value on it. I would consider middle class as a person/couple/family that are able to live fairly comfortably on their current salary, without having to live beyond their means. A little debt is ok, but not to the point where one or two more falls and the only means to get out is to declare bankruptcy.

But there are so many things to consider when defining a "middle class". Does it divide into 3 sectors (Lower, Middle, Upper)? Do you include the working class? Do you use a salary to define it? Can you live paycheck to paycheck and still be considered Middle Class?
Excellent point. I mean you have lots of couples who have combined income of 200K but lots of expenses (expensive homes, cars, edu. loans, kids, etc). Look a the SF bay area, it's almost impossible to survive with less than 100K in salary.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: What is Middle Class?

In my experience, the majority of Americans seem to live paycheck to paycheck, whether they are making $15,000 per year or $150,000 per year. People's "needs" tend to increase as fast as their incomes.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:33 PM   #8
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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Originally Posted by Sheriff Gonna Getcha View Post
I would say that a single person amking 70K is close to upper-middle class. After all, the average household income is something like $45K.
So if you're single and make 85K, what are you? You most certainly are not wealthy.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:33 PM   #9
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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Originally Posted by gibbsisgod View Post
I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.
It gets *very* fuzzy when you start factoring in cost of living, too. Like the firefighter in NYC that makes $90k. Is he then, upper class? I would bet he doesn't think so. Or the guy in SW VA who makes $60k? He is in your middle class designation, but he lives very comfortably, comparatively.

*edit - Seems other people typed this point in faster than I.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:38 PM   #10
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Re: What is Middle Class?

Senator Chuck Schumer was on The Daily Show last night pushing his new book. He had this imaginary middle class couple with 3 kids who had a combined income of 75K...The Baileys as he calls them.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:41 PM   #11
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Re: What is Middle Class?

It's very subjective. It's all about cost of living, marital status, lots of things. There are probably a lot of people who make two-hundred thousand plus and could be considered poor. What is poor anyway?

I think you have to have some subsets of the broad sweeping term middle class. You have the people who make lots of money, but spend without any regard for the future, and therefore are broke most of the time. There are the people who might make less than what we could consider middle income, but are frugal with their cash, live comfortably (by their definition) and still have cash put away.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:42 PM   #12
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Re: What is Middle Class?

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Originally Posted by saden1 View Post
So if you're single and make 85K, what are you? You most certainly are not wealthy.
Guess it depends on where you live, personally I'd be pretty happy making 85k if I were single.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:47 PM   #13
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Re: What is Middle Class?

This is a great discussion issue because it goes straight to the heart of some serious tax issues.

There are so many variables that I think it almost impossible to make a definition.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:47 PM   #14
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Re: What is Middle Class?

I don't know that the term 'middle class' can be defined accurately, but I would venture to say that natural psyche of Americans would generally lead them to believe that the upper class consists of anyone making more than they do.

Great question, btw Saden. I have often thought about this myself.
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Old 01-26-2007, 04:48 PM   #15
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Re: What is Middle Class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheriff Gonna Getcha View Post
In my experience, the majority of Americans seem to live paycheck to paycheck, whether they are making $15,000 per year or $150,000 per year. People's "needs" tend to increase as fast as their incomes.
You mean people's wants increase as there pay checks increase. If your making 70 to 150 grand a year and living pay check to pay check then your over spending. Its not that people plan to fail its that they fail to plan.
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