Middle class is a descriptive term that refers to families or households that make a certain income in the United States or any other country, and it varies where and how this is determined per region. For America, middle class households have to makes two-thirds of to double the median income for U.S. households. This means that in 2017 the numbers for this were between $42k per year and $126k. A lot of families fall into this category, but many also fall short. What does life look like in middle class? Here’s some information on how, and where, middle class Americans live.
Having a term like middle class and such a wide range of income to fit in this category probably would insinuate that a lot of Americans could fall into this range. But, that’s not the case. In 2021 only an estimated 50% of American households could classify as middle class, and a little more than half of the remaining 50% fell to lower class definition. This is due to increase in both lower and upper class households over the years in the states.
Metro areas tend to hold the most of our middle class citizens, whether that’s due to available jobs nearby or just where many of this income range tend to settle is really up to individual interpretation. Much of the percentage of metro areas like Jacksonville, North Carolina or Odessa, Texas tends to be made up of middle class households. In fact, these types of regions tend to have at least 50% of their households being middle class incomes.
Harder To Increase Income
Getting into the upper ranges of the class system for Americans has become notably more difficult across data points from the 1970s to 2021. Those aged 65 and older climbed the ladder quite a lot, whether it be from higher retirement ages meaning working for longer or from Social Security payments being doled out more to this age group. But those with lesser education, even those with bachelor’s degrees, fell further on the income ladder over these years.
As usual in many trends across the United States, Black and Hispanic households or individuals still were able to sometimes climb up in this ladder of class but still often perform lesser than white individuals of the same data group. Women across all of the board performed less than men unless married or in multi-income households. This pattern has held pretty true across many decades of living in the country, with little to no improvement since the 70s.
Can It Really Help?
Even today, falling into middle class doesn’t always mean a luxury or even comfortable life for many. Since the median income for households is from such a large range of incomes and much of the lower class lives in poverty, homes that may be classified as middle class on the ladder can still pretty heavily struggle with living costs and survival. This is also because many households in the middle class have larger sizes of household and more children or individuals to care for.
Now this definitely isn’t the case for every single individual family or home in the United States that falls into middle class income standards, but that’s quite obvious since each person is so different and what somebody does for that income as well as the size of their household can greatly make their life entirely different from others with the same numbers but different lifestyles. These are just some of the overlying patterns that have been found in recent or past examples of middle class households in America to give those of us that are curious about what the term truly means to live through some input for thinking on.