Mon. May 27th, 2024

Are you still earning enough to be middle class? Check these new tables

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker May20,2024

(NEXSTAR) — It can be hard to tell if you rank as middle class, especially when it feels like your paycheck doesn’t go as far as it once did (one government analysis suggests you need at least $10,000 more just to live like you did three years ago).

A new report from personal finance site SmartAsset reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as the Pew Research Center to determine what it does take — at least on paper — to be considered middle class in all 50 states and 345 of the nation’s largest cities. 

The analysis used the Pew Research definition of “middle income,” which says a middle class salary range is two-thirds to double the area’s median salary. As of 2022 (the most recent Census data), the average median household income in the U.S. was $73,914, meaning the national range for the middle class is roughly $49,271 to $147,828. Across the nation’s largest cities, the range is between $51,558 and $154,590, according to SmartAsset.

Will it be a hot summer? Odds are yes for all but 2 states, NOAA says

Depending on where you live, that range can vary greatly. 

Nowhere was the middle class range as drastic as New Jersey, where SmartAsset determined the difference between the lower class and upper class was a whopping $128,468. Your household would need to earn at least $64,224 to be considered middle class in the Garden State, and earning more than $192,692 would put you in the upper class. 

In addition to New Jersey, you need an annual household salary of at least $50,000 to be considered middle class in 17 states: Oregon, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Virginia, Alaska, Connecticut, Utah, Colorado, New Hampshire, Washington, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

A person considered middle class in New Jersey could easily rank among the wealthiest in Mississippi, which had the lowest middle class range on SmartAsset’s list. In the Magnolia State, earning between $35,142 and $105,438 would put you in the middle class. 

The interactive table below shows each state’s middle class range based on SmartAsset’s report. 

For best viewing on mobile, turn your device horizontally. Still unable to view the table? Click here.

While New Jersey had the highest state-level middle class range, none of its cities ranked among the 10 most expensive cities. Instead, California cities dominated the upper end of the list. 

It was Sunnyvale, a Bay Area city northwest of San Jose, that has the richest middle class range: you need a household salary of at least $113,176 to be “middle income.” If you have your sights set for upper class status in Sunnyvale, SmartAsset determined you would need a salary of at least $339,562.

In six cities — California’s Sunnyvale, Fremont, San Mateo, and Santa Clara; Bellevue, Washington; and Highlands Ranch, Colorado — you need a household salary of more than $101,000 to be a middle-earner. 

Could a ‘new star’ appear in the sky this summer? Here’s what to know

A six-figure salary would put you among the upper class in the 10 cities on the opposite end of SmartAsset’s list. The most affordable city, the report found, was Detroit, where an annual salary of just $24,300 would make you middle class. Close behind was Cleveland, Ohio, which had a low-end middle class benchmark of $24,898.

Across the 10 cities with the lowest middle class range, a household salary of at least $30,000 would be enough to qualify as a middle income earner. 

The interactive table below shows the 345 cities SmartAsset analyzed, as well as the lower and upper bounds of their middle class. 

For best viewing on mobile, turn your device horizontally. Still unable to view the table? Click here.

You can view SmartAsset’s full report here.

Though it has tumbled from a peak of 9.1% in the summer of 2022, inflation has remained elevated so far this year. Prices excluding volatile food and energy costs rose 3.8% in March from a year earlier, the same as in the previous month and well above the Federal Reserve’s target. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the four-week average number of Americans filing for jobless benefits has remained unchanged, defying efforts by the Fed to cool hiring. 

‘Cicada-geddon’: Which states will soon be bombarded with cicadas?

Last week, in an exclusive interview with Nexstar, the parent company of this outlet, President Joe Biden admitted inflation is being “stubborn and not going down to 2%.” He further called our economy “the strongest…of any country in the world,” but adding, “we’ve got more to do.”

“We’ve created over 15 million new jobs. And the salaries are outpacing the cost of inflation. Lot of good happening,” he added. “But still, it’s those small things that matter in a big way to ordinary people. And that’s what we have to work on.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

Related Post

2 thoughts on “Are you still earning enough to be middle class? Check these new tables”
  1. I think the definition of “middle class” is always evolving, especially with the changing cost of living. It’s alarming to see how much more you need just to keep up with a few years ago. The income disparity between lower and upper class in some states is staggering!

  2. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to maintain a middle-class lifestyle with the rising cost of living. The analysis provided by SmartAsset sheds light on the financial requirements to be classified as middle class across different states and cities. It’s evident that income disparities play a significant role in defining one’s socioeconomic status.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *