When you hear the term “middle class,” what you envision likely depends on who you are. In the United States, what does the term actually mean? And are you part of the middle class?
I’ll answer those questions and more based on a recent analysis from the Pew Research Center.
The Pew report, which is based on government income statistics for more than 260 metropolitan areas in 2018, indicates that the middle class makes up the largest economic group of Americans (52%).
And the Pew Research Center has a calculator that you can use to determine whether you live in a middle class household.
Before we get to it, let’s take a look at Pew’s definition of the term.
What Is Middle Class?
Pew defines the middle class as U.S. adults whose annual gross household income is between two-thirds and double the national median. For comparison, upper-income households take in more than double the median and lower-income households take in less than two-thirds of the median.
Here are the report’s annual wage ranges, according to 2018 figures, for U.S. households comprised of three people.
- Upper income: More than $145,500
- Middle income: $48,500 – $145,500
- Lower income: Less than $48,500
What Qualifies as Middle Class In Your Area?
You may be wondering what income you would have to make to qualify as middle class in your local area. This calculator from the Pew Research Center shows you where you stand.
All you have to do is enter your personal information in a few dropdown menus including:
- Your state
- Your metro area
- Annual household income before taxes
- Number of people in your household
For a deeper dive, you can also compare yourself with others by adding a little more demographic information about yourself.