Question: What is "Middle-Class"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frederick, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Frederick

    Frederick Second Unit

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    A joke with my wife sparked an interesting question. Is there an "official" definition of "Middle-Class"? Like is there some household income minimum or something? We asked around and no one could give us a definite answer, but $50k-95K seemed to be the average response. Just curiosity more than anything else, since the term is thrown around so much ...


    Freddy C.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    There are certain criteria for being "middle class," but I don't know the numbers offhand. Unfortunately, the salary range you cite is actually in the 93rd or higher percentile. The median income in the U.S. (not the average) is still under $20,000 I think.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    And around here you are poor if you are "only making $95K", since the cost of living precludes home ownership at that salary.[​IMG]
    I would guess that middle-class should be defined in terms of lifestyle and not by income as there is a great geographic disparity across the US.
     
  4. Michael Varacin

    Michael Varacin Stunt Coordinator

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    "Middle Class" is the segment of the population that is being turned into the lower class by corporate greed.
     
  5. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    If I had to guess, $35k is lower middle class, $45-70k is middle class, and $70k-100k is upper middle class.

    Above 100k, I believe, most simply fall into "upper class" or "rich".

     
  6. matt bee

    matt bee Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmm...I guess that makes me somewhere between upper lower middle class and lower middle middle class. [​IMG]
     
  7. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Ryan's description sounds like upper middle class to me. There's also the lower middle class: makes too much money to qualify for any government assistance welfare programs, but is just barely able to get by on their own income, lives pay check to pay check. Any expensive car repair has to be put on a credit card and ends up paying for it for 20 years. Has no savings account (it was eaten up during the last period of unemployment/pay cuts).

    I know the "bracket" isn't just dependant on salary, because my salary would put me in upper middle class in some areas of the country. However, here I'm lower middle class. It's all about income vs. cost of living.
     
  8. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Getting screwed by "the man," that's what middle class is...
     
  9. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    What is middle class?

    The US Census Bureau does not have an official definition of what is middle class.
    Anyone who gives a definitive income range as middle class is simply giving you his or her opinion as to what is “middle class.”
     
  10. Brian Ford

    Brian Ford Stunt Coordinator

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    It was interesting to see how the class line began to become vague, so now I am no longer middle class. Now I am middle middle class.

    I feel so mundane.
     
  11. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  12. andrew markworthy

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    And the Brits get accused of being class-conscious... [​IMG]
    The official Brit system (for the purposes of population statistics) is based on occupation. If I remember correctly, the basic stratification is into A (aristocrats, top professions), B (upper management, the rest of the professions), C (skilled clerical and manual), D (semi-skilled), E (no skills or training). There are sub-groups of each, of course.
    The reality is that, like anywhere else, it's down to money, background and what you do. Generally in the UK money is a necessary requirement for a particular social grouping, but it alone won't elevate your social status - you must have the lifestyle, behaviour and manners to go with it. Hence the archetypal rich soccer player earning several million p.a., with perma-tanned bimbo wife and a collection of Mercs, Lexuses and 4x4s in the driveway, is more likely to be seen as nouveau riche than as middle or upper class.
     
  13. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Class divisions courtesy of George Carlin:

    The upper class - gets all the money, pays none of the taxes.

    The middle class - does all the work, pays all of the taxes.

    The lower class - just there to scare the s**t out of the middle class!
     
  14. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  15. Ben Menix

    Ben Menix Stunt Coordinator

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    Definitely needs to be based on lifestyle / income vs. COL. In my little neck of the backwoods, I'm solid middle class, even with a single income family. I was offered a job in CA recently, and turned it down because double my current salary wouldn't even keep me off the street. Where I am, anything over $50,000 / year is upper middle class (alternatively described as "well off" or "comfortable".) I'm neither, but I'm not worried, either. That's what I call middle class.
    Ben Menix
    [email protected]
     
  16. Frederick

    Frederick Second Unit

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    My wife's boss pretty much said the same thing. He was the only one that didn't throw out any numbers. But he owns 2 companies, and is a 6-figure earner. You wouldn't know it when you see him, though. He's very down to earth, starting from not much and earning every dollar he has. Really cool guy. And swears he's two inches from the poor house [​IMG] ...
    The whole thing started because my wife got a raise yesterday. I told her congrats, and welcome to the world of the middle-class worker. She asked how could she be middle-class and still be broke. I reminded her that we were nowhere near broke, and the money we lack is because of the lifestyle that we lead (toys, occasional splurges, etc.). We have friends on both sides of the spectrum, some that struggle from check to check, and others that take trips 2-3 times a year. We never really thought about "classes" `till I made that comment yesterday.
    Freddy C.
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  18. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    This thread is cool, I've been promoted to upper middle class[​IMG]
     
  19. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  20. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I believe the average annual household, not individual, income in the U.S. is around $30,000 a year, so I guess that would be the middle point of the middle class. Of course $30,000 in certain parts of the country can provide a very nice standard of living, while the same amount in other parts of the country would almost qualify one as poor.

    As for the figures that the thread starter mentioned, I believe an average annual household income of $50,000 would put one in the top 15%, or the upper middle class.

    As far as taxes go, I recall reading that the top 1% pays over 50% of the nation's taxes and that the top 5% pays over 90%. Food for thought when someone says, "the rich pay no taxes." This, of course, does not include corporate taxes.
     

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