What is Middle Class?
On Sunday, there was an article about the middle class that started on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer and continued inside. The article said that many people in the United States consider themselves to be part of the middle class - whether they are earning $20,000 or $150,000.
I think things were a bit different when I was young. Back then, we seemed to have the poor, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class, and the rich. Today, people keep saying that the middle class is disappearing, and yet, more people are classifying themselves as part of the middle class.
One thing we should have learned during the recent election - but I'm not sure that we did - was that each part of the country is different.
In Alaska, for instance, those guys working on oil pipe lines still make what most of us consider a fantastic wage.
In some parts of the country, the median value of a middle class home is about $150,000.
When I lived in Texas a few years ago, the median home value in the town where I lived was $110,000, but in neighboring towns one could buy a decent home for $35,000 and a great fixer-up home for as little as $20,000-25,000.
In California, some sources say that the median middle class home is valued at about $800,000. I'm sorry, but I consider someone able to afford to live in an $800,000 home far beyond middle class. To me, that sounds rather rich.
Even when I was a single mom and ended up with no income at all (because of my work injury and subsequent decision by the state worker's compensation board to continue paying for medical expenses but not any weekly income), I never considered myself poor. I always considered myself part of the middle class and I knew that my situation would be temporary. I always had hope for the future.
The government does not seem to have any official definition of middle class. They do define poverty level. And by the taxing levels, the government defines what is "rich". Perhaps what is in between is considered middle class? If so, $10,000 to $250,000 is a huge spread, isn't it?
Is middle class defined by numbers? Or is it defined by lifestyle? Does it depend upon the amount of hope that one has? I wonder...
Tags: Middle Class , Hope , Dreams , Change , Class , Middle
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