What Is the Middle Class in The United States?

The middle class is usually a group of individuals at the top of a socio-economic hierarchy. Its use has often times been vague whether related to education, job, salary or social standing. Any writer on the left invariably favors the lower status defined in terms of educational qualification, occupation or income.

Current Pew Research study indicates that there are two types of the American middle-class income bracket: the poor and the better off. The poor are characterized as being those who are classified in the bottom half of the economic scale; i.e. earning less than sixty-seven thousand dollars a year. This also includes people who earn under forty nine thousand dollars.

The better off are those who earn between sixty-seven thousand and one hundred twenty-seven thousand dollars. They are the ones who have incomes between sixty-seven thousand and two hundred twenty-seven thousand dollars. The two incomes categories are further subdivided into three groups: those who belong to the upper middle class (earning more than forty-nine thousand dollars), those who belong to the middle class but have lower incomes, and those who belong to the lower middle class but have lower incomes. Based on this research, about thirty-seven million Americans fall within the range of the income brackets described in this research. These are categorized in five categories: the poor, the middle class, the middle, the higher-middle class, and the upper middle class.

In the previous analysis, it was mentioned that the Pew Research Center defines the middle class income as “the most typical family income after adjusting for age, race, gender, current marital status and annual household income.” This definition excludes many households that consist of two earners and even one child. Because households containing two or more earners are excluded from this definition, it can be concluded that a lot of families fall into the lower income brackets. When we refer to “the middle class,” however, we usually mean “a group of people who are in agreement that their household income meets the standard of what is considered to be middle class.” Hence, the president trumped his opponents when he said that he will bring back the middle class.

The middle-class is not particularly very common, even in America. It is an idea that is held by less than half of the population, and even less of the population who consider themselves to be in this particular income bracket. One reason for this is the extent of the problem. Another reason for this is the extent of the scope of the problem.

The last two sections of the previous section describe the kinds of households that make up the middle class. Specifically, these two kinds of households are upper-class households and lower-class households. Middle-class individuals live in areas with higher median income than the national average, while lower-class households live in areas with lower median income than the national average. In a country as large as the United States, there are approximately half a million households in which both median income families fall within the middle-class category. But households can be split further, with one member classified as upper-class and another as lower-class.

As we noted before, the median income refers to a more typical definition of the middle class. While this may be the standard for the purposes of defining the middle class, there are several other measures of what is considered to be a middle class, and they do not necessarily all fall into the range defined by the pew data. The median income is, for example, a way to get an idea of where people stand economically. Another example is the mean income. The mean income is an alternative measure of what would be considered to be middle class that differs slightly from the median income.

One final alternative measure of the middle class is the college-educated group. The median income of college-educated individuals tends to be much higher than the earnings of those who are not college-educated. These facts about the middle class are important for researchers to be able to generate appropriate statistical analyses. The data on what makes up the middle class are essential elements for economic researchers, politicians, and anyone else who would like to understand the dynamics of the economy.