According to recent government data, the median American household income is $56,000. This means half of all Americans fall below this income amount and the other half falls above it. While this number gives a starting point, it doesn’t clearly define the income classes wherever the American household falls. The CGS Team has done some research to pinpoint what determines an income class. Use this information to see where you fall.
The top of all the income classes is the upper class. For majority’s sake, the upper class constitutes the richest 1% of the country. To fall within the 1%, a family needs an annual household income of $389,486, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This may or may not be true, if you include America as a whole. Celebrities alone make much more than that.
Upper Middle Class
The upper middle class bring in $100,000-$250,000 in household income annually. According to census data, in 2015 6.1% of the population brought in $200,000 or more, and 14.1% brought in $100,000-$150,000. The number of households falling in the upper middle class range has grown over 20% in the past 30 years.
Per Investopedia, “The Census Bureau says that 41.5% of American households brought in between $35,000 and $100,000 in 2015. Twenty-six percent of American households earn more than that and 32% earn less. While this gives us a good idea of the incomes of the average American middle class household, the definitions of this group vary.”
Ranges for middle class begin at $30,000 and end at $113,000. While there isn’t an exact income level to specify middle class, this range is the best indicator.
Lower Middle Class
The lower middle class earn between $18,871 and $47,177 for a family of three, as defined by the Brookings Institute. While this class is not considered to live in poverty, they may be one financial emergency away from the poverty line.
Lower Class (Poverty Level)
The lower class includes any American household that falls under the poverty line. This is the lowest income class and it essentially means families or individuals who don't earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Census bureau data estimates that about 14% of the U.S. population (that’s approximately 43 million people) live below the poverty line and fall into this class today.
The current official poverty threshold is an income of $24,257 per year for a family of four and $18,871 for a family of three. However, according to Investopedia, this figure has often been debated. Many poor Americans live in urban areas that have a high cost of living, making it likely that people earning more would fit the definition of poverty in a high-cost city or region. Depending on your area, your income doesn’t take you as far as it would somewhere else.
It would be naïve to deny that there aren’t income classes in America. While income does play a factor in how well people do financially, it’s not the only factor. How someone manages their money is the ultimate determinant. You can save and live comfortably with a low income, you just have to prioritize your spending.
What are your thoughts on the income levels for each of America’s income classes? Do you have any thoughts about income classes in our country? Post a comment below to share your thoughts. We want to hear from you!