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View Poll Results: What do you consider "Lower Middle Class"
20k - 50k 68 63.55%
60k - 90k 36 33.64%
100k - 130k 1 0.93%
130k - 160k 1 0.93%
160k+ 1 0.93%
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Lower Middle Class Income
Old 04-06-2009, 02:35 PM   #1
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Lower Middle Class Income

I hear a lot of talk in the news and on the radio of what the typical lower middle income class family makes a year. The figure they throw out: 125k per person.

I want to hear what the rest of you think of when you hear "middle class". I'm not worried about demographics just throw a number out of how much you think a working couple makes to be considered "middle class"

I guess my thought of "middle class" being around 80k really means "red beans and rice". If my family was making a quarter mil a year I'd hardly think I was lower anything in terms of money ...
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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This question begs for a poll...
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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This question begs for a poll...
Good idea. Done.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:55 PM   #4
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Sweet according to this poll. I am rich. YES! Wait probably more like upper middle class. Damnit!
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:59 PM   #5
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This question is far too location-dependent. A $70,000 income would be middle to upper middle class where I live, and would be a real struggle in NYC.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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I'd say somewhere around $40k up to maybe $60k. In most places, this will get you home ownership, car ownership, food on the table, some creature comforts, etc. Really depends on location. $40k gets you much further in rural texas vs. NYC or San Francisco. But I don't think $125k income per person would qualify as lower middle class anywhere in the USA. Well, perhaps certain streets in certain cities.

Just FYI, $22,050 is the federal poverty level for a family of 4.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:09 PM   #7
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This question is far too location-dependent. A $70,000 income would be middle to upper middle class where I live, and would be a real struggle in NYC.
That's exactly why I'm asking for realistic people to throw numbers out there. I find it very hard to believe that most working class adults see a 250k combined income lower middle class. Yet the media has no problem jamming this down our throats.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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That's exactly why I'm asking for realistic people to throw numbers out there. I find it very hard to believe that most working class adults see a 250k combined income lower middle class. Yet the media has no problem jamming this down our throats.
Who you calling "working class"?!?!
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:13 PM   #9
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Location plays a big role but while else is the middle class so vaguely defined? Is it so politicians can toss out the term and everyone feels affected?

I'd probably base it on income quintiles and say this:

1st quintile - capital class
2nd quintile - upper middle
3rd - lower middle
4th - working class
5th - lower class
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:18 PM   #10
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Based on US Census Bureau statistics, there is no objective way to answer anything but the first choice. Where any of us lives has little to do with the broad answer...

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Real median household income in the United States climbed 1.3 percent between 2006 and 2007, reaching $50,233, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the third annual increase in real median household income.
US Census Press Releases
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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Location plays a big role but while else is the middle class so vaguely defined? Is it so politicians can toss out the term and everyone feels affected?

I'd probably base it on income quintiles and say this:

1st quintile - capital class
2nd quintile - upper middle
3rd - lower middle
4th - working class
5th - lower class
I think the problem here is that the 1st and 5th percentiles are a LOT farther apart than, say, the 30th and 70th percentiles.

If we ignore variations in cost of living and simplicity of lifestyle -- if we had to pigeonhole, maybe I'd look at anything between (say) 60-300% of median household income as middle class, with "upper" and "lower" modifiers thrown in accordingly.

Someone more than 300% of median income (i.e. at least 3x the national median income) is starting to approach the "lower upper class" in the general case. Again, this is looking at national averages and not normalizing for local cost of living. And below 60% of the median, it's probably quite a struggle
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:22 PM   #12
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Considering the average individual income is under $50K, i'd say lower middle class would have to be under that. I'd say lower middle class would be $20K-$40K. I make $45K and consider myself middle class not lower middle class. I'd call middle class $40K-$75K and upper middle class $75K-$125K. These are for one income households.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
This question is far too location-dependent.
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These are for one income households.
The devil is in the details. Can the question "Do you include the value of your home as part of your retirement nest egg?" be far behind?
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:31 PM   #14
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You guys have it all wrong. In America, your income is "middle class" regardless of what your income actually is. Someone making 3x as much is upper class. Someone making half as much is lower class. It's all relative. Examples:

The person making $50k regards himself as middle class, someone earning +$150k as rich, and someone making less than $25k as poor.

Meanwhile, the person making $150k says that he is middle class, someone making above $450k is upper class, and someone below $75k is lower class.

Someone making $500k probably thinks that $1.5MM is "rich"...and so on.

So when they do a poll and ask "should the rich be taxed more to help pay for things?" the vast majority says yes - because anyone who makes 3x what you do is obviously a rich fatcat.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mrinvest View Post
I hear a lot of talk in the news and on the radio of what the typical lower middle income class family makes a year. The figure they throw out: 125k per person.
I am curious if there wasn't some miscomunication as it seems they are talking about both a per person basis and per family basis.
Also, as you and other's have mentioned, it depends largely upon location. Are you listening to NY city radio stations by chance?

For a family I could see calling 125k lower middle class. It is a bit of a stretch, but within the realm of possibilities.
Per individual? No, that seems far too high for an individual to be described as lower-middle class.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:33 PM   #16
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The devil is in the details. Can the question "Do you include the value of your home as part of your retirement nest egg?" be far behind?
Oh yes lets do this again
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:40 PM   #17
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You guys have it all wrong. In America, your income is "middle class" regardless of what your income actually is. Someone making 3x as much is upper class. Someone making half as much is lower class. It's all relative. Examples:

The person making $50k regards himself as middle class, someone earning +$150k as rich, and someone making less than $25k as poor.

Meanwhile, the person making $150k says that he is middle class, someone making above $450k is upper class, and someone below $75k is lower class.

Someone making $500k probably thinks that $1.5MM is "rich"...and so on.

So when they do a poll and ask "should the rich be taxed more to help pay for things?" the vast majority says yes - because anyone who makes 3x what you do is obviously a rich fatcat.
The difference is the first person has statistics to back them up. The second person isn't in touch with reality. Obviously if the average individual income is under $50K then $75K is not lower class. The middle of the middle class for an individual is $45-$50K. That is a verifiable fact. All the other categories are up for debate.
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Class Wars
Old 04-06-2009, 04:03 PM   #18
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Class Wars

Wow -- guess this shows how old I really am (I'll be 56 tomorrow....)....I would consider anything in 6 figures as solid to upper middle class, and I mean per family, not individual. OK, maybe not in NYC or CT or California -- the really expensive places to live, but most anywhere else.....I think this reflects the "gotta have it now and it better be the best" mentality that is so prevalent nowadays. Whatever happened to REALLY living within your means and being happy with a simple yet comfortable life?? Most of us in my generation didn't have anywhere near the material goods many people consider "normal" now, yet we were satisfied and actually happy -- imagine!! Most of the mortgage mess could have been avoided if people hadn't bought over their heads (and yes, those lenders are guilty for pushing them into it too!) Maybe the one good thing that will come out of this whole economic mess is that people will finally go back to being satisfied with less materially and have more time and energy for the really important things....like friends and family. Am I sounding like an almost "old" lady or have I hit the mark??
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:05 PM   #19
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I have a relative who makes around 75k a year in a major Texas city. He is military. He thinks he is lower middle class. Numerous examples might say otherwise. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:09 PM   #20
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For a family I could see calling 125k lower middle class. It is a bit of a stretch, but within the realm of possibilities.
Per individual? No, that seems far too high for an individual to be described as lower-middle class.
After looking at US census data, I'm having a hard time imagining calling a family earning $125k/yr lower middle class based strictly on income, even if they were working in a major high cost metro area. Can you provide a description of this hypothetical family?

Maybe if we assume one of these $125k/yr families tries to live a middle or upper-middle class lifestyle then they will have a hard time making ends meet.
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