Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Are YOU Middle Class?

With tax season behind us, income is fresh in our minds.  The term 'middle class' gets thrown around a lot, and we all feel like we know what it means but defining that concept can be difficult.  For one thing, most of us don't feel like we are particularly rich, regardless of our income level.  Plus there can be a big geographic difference - a $100,000 salary in Lancaster WI allows a much different lifestyle than the same income in San Francisco or even Madison.  A Business Insider article recently reviewed a Pew Charitable Trust analysis of incomes from 2013.  In the study Pew defines 'middle class' as households with income between 60% and 200% of a states’ median income.

They produced a list for all 50 states of the median income, and then based on their definition of middle class the upper and lower boundaries of who could be considered middle class in each state.

source:  Pew Charitable Trusts via Business Insider
Surprisingly, at least to me, is that both Alaska and Hawaii have median incomes in the top five nationwide, while both California & New York fall outside the top ten.  And being middle class in Minnesota requires 20% more income than here in Wisconsin.  Also interesting is that there is a nearly 100% gap between the highest and lowest income states.  Which further illustrates how being 'middle class' is at least as much mindset as it is hard fact.

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