The American middle class is shrinking. Although 70 percent of citizens consider themselves a part of this group, only about 50 percent qualify based on income, according to a 2015 report from Pew Research Center.
For those whose income hits that sweet spot — two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income, as defined by Pew — certain locations prove more advantageous than others for living comfortably and raising a family.
GOBankingRates found the most affordable places for middle class families by looking at three factors: income trends, including the change in median household income of middle class families between 1999 and 2014; higher education trends, including tuition costs and graduation rates; and housing trends, including mortgage and homeownership rates.
Below, check out 12 U.S. states where it's possible to thrive on a middle class salary: