Are You Really Middle Class?

Can we define the middle class in practical terms? To be sure, there are probably as many sociological definitions of the middle class as there are commentators seeking definitions. So let’s set aside the socio-swamp of beliefs, values, and taxonomies of class in favor of a definition with measurable thresholds.

Many commentators attempt to define the middle class by income, and people tend to self-report that they belong to the middle class based on income. The self-evident way to define the middle class by income is to set aside the top 10 percent (households earning $145,000 or more) and those defined as poor by the U.S. Census Bureau (households making less than $25,000), roughly 25 percent of all households.

Somewhere between the two is the middle class, though trying to narrow it down forces us into an impassable statistical thicket. For example, government agencies report income in different ways. The IRS reports individual tax returns (147 million) while other agencies report household income (117 million households).

– The American Conservative

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