It’s strange—there is no generally accepted definition for the term “middle class” in the United States. There are several opinions on what constitutes a middle class individual or household but, these notions vary. Although a substantial percentage of Americans view themselves as middle class, this is perception, not reality, as I will demonstrate during the course of this article.
Being a more class conscious society, our British cousins actually do have a definition for middle class, and it goes like this:
- Working Class – Paid weekly and rent
- Middle Class – Paid monthly and own
- Upper Class – No need to work, inherited your home and have an estate
The Brit’s definition, I’m sure you agree, doesn’t fit our socio-economic structure. For example, substantial numbers of Americans that consider themselves middle class are renters and, few working Americans are paid once monthly.
Americans tend to view things through the prism of income when it comes to defining class. My research on the topic revealed no consensus regarding what income level defines an individual or family as middle class.