Nearly 70 percent of Americans consider themselves middle-class but, in reality, the middle class makes up just over 50 percent of the total U.S. population.
That makes sense, as the definition of "middle-class" can vary depending on who you ask. For some, class is defined by things like education and occupation, or even by certain attributes like how hard you work. For others, it means you earn a specific salary.
In a 2018 report, Pew treats "middle-class" as more or less interchangeable with "middle-income," and notes that "'middle-income' Americans are adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median, after incomes have been adjusted for household size." Lower-income households, meanwhile, have incomes less than 67 percent of the median, and upper-income households have incomes that are more than double the median.
Given that the median was $57,617 in 2016, here's the breakdown of how much money your household has to earn each year to meet Pew's definition of middle-class, depending on the size of your family:
Household of one: Minimum of $26,093
Household of two: Minimum of $36,902
Household of three: Minimum of $45,195
Household of four: Minimum of $52,187
Household of five: Minimum of $58,347
What it takes to be middle-class also depends on where you live. For a more accurate reflection of which group you're in, plug your information into Pew's income calculator, which adjusts for the cost of living in your area, as well as the number of people in your household.
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