Can you know if your feelings line

2 min read

The lines that divide Americans by economic class have always been blurry. For many households, where they stand on the income ladder comes down to a feeling rather than numbers.

But how can you know if your feelings line up with reality?

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Pew Research Center’s income calculator is the quickest way to find the answer to that question.

But after you find out how you stack up, you may find the more important question is what do you do with that information so you can safely keep ascending that ladder.

Based on Pew’s analysis, a household of three needs an income of $156,600 to meet the definition of upper class, which amounts to more than double the national median.

In analyzing the trends, Pew points out that the wealthiest households are the only ones to have seen gains in wealth after the start of the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2016, the median net worth of the top 20% increased 13% to $1.2 million.

Meanwhile, the lowest earners saw their wealth decrease by at least 20% over that period of time.

The result is that the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorest families has grown into a chasm — more than doubling between 1989 and 2016.

Many Americans associate themselves with the middle class. In fact, a Gallup survey from 2022 shows that just over half of respondents identified as either middle or upper middle class.

Based on Pew’s calculator, middle class earners are actually those whos income falls between $52,200 and $156,600, or two-thirds to double the national median when adjusted for local cost of living and household size. In 2021, the median income was $70,784, according to Census Bureau data.


Ruku Khatun 7
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