All the Criteria Defining What “middle Class” Really Means
The term “middle class” has become such a common jargon that most of us accept it as a well-defined group and a worthwhile goal. But what defines the middle class is a little more fluid than you might think.
As the personal finance blog Money Crashers points out, the concept of “middle class” can vary a lot depending on who you ask. A person earning $ 100,000 a year in New York may not call themselves middle class, while someone who earns half that amount in Arkansas will think they are pretty well off. Of course, income levels are only part of the equation:
It is clear that the term “middle class” does not have a single meaning that everyone can agree with. When people call themselves middle class, they don’t just talk about their income or how much money they have in the bank – they talk about how they think about their life and how they see themselves in comparison to the rest of the world. …
However, even if there is no way to dwell on a single, clear definition of the “middle class”, it is still possible to understand several semantic layers included in this term. As shown in a 2012 US News article, class is related to income and wealth , but it also includes education and the type of work you do. Ideas in a CNN poll show that the idea of “middle class” has other meanings that are even more difficult to define, such as your lifestyle and how comfortable you feel in your place in the world.
The Money Crashers article goes into much more detail on the criteria that make up what defines “middle class.” This includes not only your salary, but also where you live, your net worth, educational level and lifestyle. This information is important to keep in mind when discussing salary or lifestyle changes. Perhaps the middle-class lifestyle you have been chasing is more illusory than you think.