If you’re Googling “am I middle class?” then you might just be. Whether you are or not doesn’t really matter, and it shouldn’t define who you are. You’re you, and you were likely born into a specific income level with parents who might or might not have known how to build wealth. That’s okay. We get it.
And, quite honestly, the “middle class” is somewhat of a myth now anyways. Lots of variables shape the economic classes in the United States. According to a 2020 survey by Gallup, when asked how they identify their social class, 72% said they belonged to the middle or working class.
Why so many? Most people relate their social class to more than their wealth, factoring in education and family background. Did you know that you don’t have to go to Harvard or USC to be considered wealthy? Education and family background prevent most minorities from breaking out of a mental cycle of poverty, and really, your mind is where this all starts.
Change your mindset, and you can change your life. What "class" you're in doesn’t really matter now, does it? All we know is that the rich have gotten richer and that it’s time for that game to stop. Still, wondering what the heck the middle class even is? Here’s how it’s formally defined.
Economy Class by Income: Middle-Class Earnings
For some researchers, the most objective way to classify people into economic classes is by analyzing their income. It’s probably how you’ve classified yourself before, right? For economic purposes, the classes are generally: poor, lower middle class, middle class, upper-middle-class, and rich.
But here’s the thing, just as the United States doesn’t have an official language, there’s actually no official definition of “middle-class income” either! The closest we can get is that the Pew Research Center considers a family income to be "middle class" if it is between 67% and 200% of the median family income. So...when the rich get richer, that median income changes, pushing more people deeper into the middle class.
Similarly, the Pew Research Center defines middle-income Americans as those whose annual household income is two-thirds to twice the national median (adjusted for local cost of living and household size). Still, all that means is that the middle class is a moving target. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you currently qualify as “middle class,” that that’s how it always has to be.
Am I Middle Class?
This is a tough question since it involves more than income. Also, the experience of each class of American society is totally relative. People assume that the class they’re in is based on their immediate environment: neighborhood, studies, work, social circle. For most people, that’s exactly what it is.
We do know that, for the most part, people tend to think they belong to the middle class. Ask any average American, and you’ll find that they believe they’re about, well, average. But, you see, that’s because it’s all relative. If you grew up in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood and your friends all got cars when they turned 16, but you didn’t, then you might think you’re in a lower class than your peers. Now, if you grew up in The Bronx and struggled to put food on your table but saw other friends going hungry, you might think that you’re doing pretty well. It’s all relative.
So, more than asking yourself the question of whether or not you’re middle class, we want to ask you another question: Why does it matter?
What does it really change in your current financial situation? Is knowing whether or not you’re middle class going to change the way you hustle, the way you work and save? Hopefully not. If it does, then we need to sit down and have a chat.
Your Wealth-Building Potential
Your worth is not defined by your status in society. You are worthy simply because you exist, plain and simple. The only reason you should care about what class you’re in is so that you’re able to challenge yourself to level up. Even then, it’s not about reaching a certain “status;” it’s only about competing with yourself to reach your financial and life goals.
Instead of focusing on reaching a certain “level” in society, focus on you. If you’re not sure how to do that, then let us help. WealthStack was designed to help educate you on how to invest in yourself. If that’s something that interests you, then this is absolutely for you.
We’ll invest in you, but only if you’re willing to invest in yourself. To start your journey, download the Wealth Stack app for free on the App Store or on Google Play.