According to the Pew Research Center, the middle class has been shrinking over the past five decades as more Americans have entered the upper or lower income brackets.
The most recent data for 2021 shows that the proportion of the population in the middle class is hovering around 50%, where it has been since 2011. The year before that, the proportion of Americans in the middle class had fallen steadily from a peak of 61% in 1971.
According to the US Census Bureau, Pew defines “middle class” as two-thirds and twice the median American household income, which was $70,784 in 2021. This means that American households earning from $47,189 to $141,568 are technically in the middle class.
But other factors, such as family size and location, can change what the middle class looks like to you. These are the income ranges for the middle class in the 20 most populous metropolitan areas in America:
Remember, this is based on the same definition of middle class. There are other definitions of middle class based on statistics, and a long list of more anecdotal definitions.
Generally speaking, anyone who isn’t living “paycheck to paycheck” but can’t stop working tomorrow and has long-term financial security can be considered middle class.
According to a Gallup poll, since 2002 at least half of the American adult population has consistently identified as middle or upper-middle class. The survey does not define middle class for respondents, but only asks whether they identify as upper, upper-middle, middle, working, or lower class.
Although the proportion of adults who identify with the upper-middle and middle class was higher before the Great Recession (about 63% of adults in 2003), it never fell below 50%, and due to the brief, but sharp, recession The COVID-19 pandemic has not happened.
As of April 2022, 52% of adults consider themselves middle or upper-middle class. And statistically speaking, they may all be right. But given the varying life situations and perceptions of wealth, it is highly likely that not everyone who feels middle class actually is, and vice versa.
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this article It was originally published in English by Cameron McNair For our affiliate network CNBC.com. For more from CNBC, go here.