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Middle Class Income in your area?

I was just in another thread discussing WM's and large families. I noticed the one of the other posters defined middle class as 200k plus. This seems really high to me, but I get that it's area specific. How would middle class be defined in your area? I live in CO and it looks like 71k would be middle class for our area. H and I make more than that combined, but I would definitely consider us to be middle class. Home prices and daycare are high, not to mention just average costs of living. I'm always curious about what it actually takes financially to live and have a family in different areas :) 

Re: Middle Class Income in your area?

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    momofcatanmomofcatan member
    edited October 2014
    A mom on my BMB posted this (shout out to @steamboat123)https://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/are-you-middle-class/?hpt=hp_t2

    I think I lot of people will guess a lot higher than what the actual middle class is.

    As a Canadian I can't take the quiz, but would guess middle class in my area (suburb of major city) is around 75-150K household income. I'm sure lots make more than that, but i would not consider them middle class.

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    I always think of middle class as having enough money to do the basics (food, clothes, childcare, electric, car, etc.), but not having much left over. Maybe a vacation every other year and not many splurges. In a HCOL, I would think that would be around $100,000.
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    Based on that link above, middle class in our county is $40-$60k.  Very interesting.
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    djm31012djm31012 member
    edited October 2014
    I am in a very HCOL area....I am not sure the exact dollar amount...but its fair to say $100k does not get you very far in our area. So I am going to go with $100k.

    ETA: ok I was right...according to the link above its $64,014—$103,577
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    $35-56k is middle class here. We make more than that combined by a good margin.

    One thing that figures into this the amount of debt people have. Even a large (for my area) income of  100k is a totally different situation when it has to service $50k in debt.
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    My county is 27-47k but my county contains a ton of varying neighborhoods around a very urban city. Lots of people don't make very much but I wouldn't consider it a low cost of living area.
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    Here it says 44-69K. I don't get it. Making that for a family, you could not even afford a house where we live, and that would be true for 3/4 of the city in which I live. When we were house hunting I had some serious sticker shock, as most neighborhoods were far more than I expected. I think the line has moved, as it's very different than when I was growing up.
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    K3am said:
    Hmm.. According to that calculator, we're not middle class. But we certainly feel that way.
    This.

    I know I'm not middle class, but it really feels like we are and I often think "how do people who make less than me get by??"  It makes me sad if I think about it too long.
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    emmyg65 said:

    I read the link as being a single income, so a family would be twice that.

    Ah, that would make a bit more sense here.
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    we make about $100,000 combined in a HCOL area with 2 kids in daycare.  We have a small house and don't do big vacations, but we have some money for extras.  I'd probably consider us the low end of middle class.  Within the next 5 years the kids will be out of daycare and out salaries will increase 10-20,000, so I definitely see thing being much more comfortable.  I could do extras after work to pull in more, however, I'm home with the kids by 3:00 everyday, 4:00 if I want to work out or do some shopping, and that perk is worth so much more than a bigger house or a cleaning lady or fancy vacations.
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    groovygrlgroovygrl member
    edited October 2014
    I consider our area MCOL (a metro area but not a large one like NYC/San Fran/Chicago/DC/etc so not nearly as expensive)  but that calculator says 60s-$100ish which others are saying is listed for HCOL areas...but our specific county has higher housing costs than surrounding area  and I would assume higher avg household income so it seems to me it is based more on the income of the ppl living there than the general COL for the area?
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    In my county, CNN says middle class is 36,000-56,000.  But that's very skewed because most of the population in my city is either well below that (living in poverty; 1 in 4 children with food insecurity) or way above.  The true "middle class" families mostly live in more suburban counties.


    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
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    $38,000 -$54,000 is considered middle class for my area.  I live in a military town though, so I don't know if that screws things up since military gets paid such crap salaries.

    With my income added to DH's we pull in about $90,000.  Kinda crazy that I considered us middle class before I realized what middle class was for our area.

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    I live what most Americans would consider a middle-class lifestyle (2 kids in daycare, able to eat out at a family restaurant afew times a month without worrying about money, take a small vacation every few years, keep up with a mortgage on a 3-bedroom house, some savings, drive cars until they fall apart, etc) but in order to afford that, DH and I have to pull in way over the 66th percentile.

    The wage gap has gotten so ridiculous that the lifestyle of a household* making the 50th percentile fifty years ago is now the lifestyle of a household making the 75th percentile. It's shameful.

    *the article is clear that it's reflecting household income, not "per person" - some of that reflects the fact that a lot of families with kids are supported by single earners (I've heard stats that close to half of all kids are being raised by a single mom these days) but it counts for dual earning couples as well.
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    I feel like middle-class (roughly defined as people in the middle 50% of incomes) doesn't mean what it used to mean. At some point in the 20th century, the hallmarks of the middle-class were new cars, new 3-bedroom suburban homes, vacations, shopping at department stores, nice pensions, etc.

    I'm slightly above the 'middle class" for my area per that CNN calculator that was posted the other day (according to it, middle-class tops out at $76K here) and I have two 10+ y/o cars, a tiny old 2-bed house, no pension, exorbitantly expensive health insurance, didn't take a vacation for 4 years, and cried when I had to spend almost $4,500 on a new furnace, repairs for one car, and new tires for the other in one month. We prioritize funding our retirement accounts and are cheapskates, but after that it doesn't feel like there's much left over for anything else.

    That isn't meant to be "woe is me", because obviously I'm doing better than 75% of people in my suburban county, so relatively speaking, I have nothing to complain about. I feel lucky to be in that position, and lucky that we have enough to save for retirement and enough savings to buy a new furnace when our old one tried to kill us by putting out carbon monoxide.

    My point is more like, if this is what being at the 76th percentile feels like, I can't imagine being at the 50th or 25th and paying for childcare, student loans, health insurance, cars, and having to save for retirement. It just seems like being a family in the middle 50% of income just means you (probably) have enough to get by these days, not that it means you have new cars, a nice suburban house, and take a vacation every year.
     

    This AP article from a couple months ago sums it up well.... basically, the cost of everything has skyrocketed, and wages have been relatively stagnant, and the middle-class in our country is not looking so great.

    "Middle-Class Squeeze: From Daycare to Health Care"

    baby girl  5.12
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    My personal income falls at the upper end of what's defined as "middle" by that calculator, which doesn't include H's income (I make a good bit more than him, but we still have two solid incomes). I still definitely feel the strain on our finances, but we can afford to buy what we want/need, which is more than many can say in our area.

    I agree with others about the loan debt, etc. While our incomes are good, we're also diverting a good bit of money every month to student loan payments, retirement contributions, insurance, etc. It would be stressful for us to pay for daycare (my mom watches for free), and I was sad to realize recently that there's no way in hell that we could afford to send LO(s) to the local Montessori or Waldorf schools.

    So, yes, comparatively, we make good money.. But we definitely don't feel like we have much to spare.

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    Assuming the numbers on the site are combined household income, we barely qualify. As in we're almost too low. But we definitely feel middle class, not lower. Despite having most of the same debts and expenses everyone else has listed. As others have said, it seems to be a pretty universal mindset no matter where you actually fall.
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    I live in a very poor rural area where unemployment is currently high (and has been for awhile). Ours tops out at 49,000 for middle income. If I was single I would barely qualify but with my husbands income we are definitely over that amount. I am glad that we are fortunate enough to be able to pay our bills and save for large purchases that come up (such as new heat and air unit last winter when it died), but I don't feel like we are 'upper' class. We don't vacation, only eat out occasionally (though I am thankful to do that) etc. 

    I have lived on my income alone (and at the time it was under the middle class range), and appreciate the much easier and comparatively worry free life I have now, but I just don't think I am above middle class. 
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