What exactly is the middle-class? Is there still room for me in a shrinking Middle-Class?
According to Investopedia, the middle-class are “individuals and households who fall between the working class and the upper class within a societal hierarchy.”
This obviously isn’t very helpful.
Brookings Institute deepens the mystery by asking things such as: “Is middle-class status a reflection of economic resources, especially income or wealth?” Brookings then suggests scholars, sociologists, philosophers, and economists will each answer this quite differently.
CNN Business offers a narrow definition of “those who are literally in the middle fifth of the nation's income ladder” and a broad definition of “everyone but the poorest 20% and the wealthiest 20%”.
Ultimately, each of these definitions are correct within their unique set of boundaries. Yet determining whether you are “officially” a member of the middle-class also depends on where you live, your income, and the number of people living in your household. Pew Research has developed a Class Calculator taking these parameters into effect.
After you enter your information, you will know what income class you are in, as well as the share of your fellow residents in the same income class. Spoiler: in the Spokane-Spokane Valley Metropolitan Statistical Area during 2016, 29% of adults were in the lower income tier, 56% were in the middle tier, and 14% were in the upper tier. Where do you fit?
Now that you know your official income class, continue to “Step 2” of the calculator to see how you compare to others across the U.S. with the same demographic profile.
If you learn you are middle-class, no need to excessively worry about it shrinking. The middle-class, even defined slightly different by Investopedia, Brookings, and CNN, it will always include more citizens than the lower- and upper-class.