There’s no single, universal definition of what counts as “middle class.” A new report from the Pew Research Center defines the middle class in the United States as any adult in a household whose income sits between 66 percent and 200 percent of the national median (adjusted for the size of the household). That encompasses about half of all American adults.
Middle class or not middle class? That’s the question! (Damian Dovarganes / AP)
And yet, as Catherine Rampell perceptively notes over at Economix, Americans in different income groups can have wildly varying perceptions of whether they’re in the middle class. Overall, Pew found that 49 percent of Americans considered themselves “middle class.” That’s about what you would expect. But there were significant variations within income tiers.
For instance, about 46 percent of adults making more than $100,000 a year considered themselves middle class, even though that income level would technically place them in the top 20 percent of earners. Likewise, nearly half of all adults who were actually in the broad middle (with incomes ranging from $30,000 to $99,000) categorized themselves as either upper or lower class.
So what do you consider middle class and who should have the right to decide on your "status" , deciding what you should be "entitled to" or taxed for?
Politicians always try to gently stroke the middle class... but without a definition isn't pandering to a mythical group simply fluff and sound bites?