Click on the image above for a larger view.
I hate the term “class” when used to refer to the United States. We do have social classes here in the United States and I’ve written about them from time to time. Unlike the situation among our European cousins, social class isn’t really very important here. What most people mean when they say “class” here is income level, a very different thing.
What do politicians mean when they say “the middle class” or “the poor” or “the rich”? Honestly, I don’t think they have any thing particularly rigorous in mind. Take a look at the chart above. Each “quintile” above means 20% of households fall within that grouping. Just for the sake of argument if we consider any household other than those in the lowest and highest quintiles as “the middle class”, that means that a household with an income of anywhere between $20,032 and $97,029 fits into that category while households that make less than $20,032 are poor and those that make $97,030 or more are rich. BTW, households with incomes in the top 5% of households have earning of $174,000 or more. Since the median income for a doctor of medicine is something like $180,000 an enormous proportion of the top 5% are docs. The top 1% of households are those who earn something like $315,000 and up.
Most households in the lowest quintile have only a single income earner (if that). Most households in the top two quintiles have two or more income earners.
There’s no real point to this post. But keep these numbers in mind when you hear politicians talking about helping the middle class.