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What is Middle Class Income? Are You Middle Class?

Updated on June 7, 2015
What is Middle Class Income? Are you Middle Class?
What is Middle Class Income? Are you Middle Class?

What is middle class income? How much money do you have to make to be considered middle class?

While Americans are brought up being told that speaking about money and economic class are rude, we are nonetheless curious about where we fit into the financial landscape of the country.

What the Census Bureau Says

The Census Bureau has five economic divisions for the American population. The third group in the category is the middle division. The yearly income of that middle class group is about $38,000 to $70,000. So if you make at least $38,000 a year, you are middle class.

However, these figures include people who have a spouse and children. $38,000 shared amongst a family of four places them in a lower middle class category. But if you are a single earner and make $38,000 per year, it is inferred that you are solidly at the center of the middle class.

Other Traits that Define Being a Middle Class American


Self-control manifests itself in the middle class in many areas of life, including:

  • Presenting oneself according to beliefs that there is a proper way to dress, speak, and behave around others
  • Adhering to a moral set of rules, such as those found in Judeo-Christianity and other religions
  • Maintaining a career
  • Being proactive in taking care of one's health
  • Getting married to one's partner and being married before having children/pro-active family planning


  • Dislike the idea of being on public welfare, reliant on others
  • Believe in giving back to others (their churches especially). Other popular charities include the arts and donating to alma maters.


  • While it is not always the case, educational attainment is often apparent in middle class households, where Associate's and Bachelor's degrees are common.
  • Most middle class earners have at least attended some college.
  • The overwhelming majority of middle class earners are high school graduates.

Being a Housewife

  • As opposed to single women who must financially support themselves, a portion of middle-class women become housewives after marrying and having children. Some wives also become homemakers without having kids. This is only done when the husband is high-earning enough to take care of his wife and/family.
  • The benefits of this set-up include a less stressful and more balanced home life, highly nutritious meals for the family, and children raised with manners and fatherly discipline.

Military Training

  • Portions of the middle class have attained their status by military training rather than college education. The U.S. military provides technical training which many soldiers and ex-military members have turned into profitable careers.


  • Drive to maintain middle class status or to move upward
  • Belief in furthering education to gain knowledge, whether for economic or intellectual desires

Middle Class Poll

Are you middle class?

See results


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