How Much You Need to Earn to be “Middle Class” in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois
Comparing Middle Income Ranges by State
Middle class is an idea we seem to be pretty comfortable with, until we try to define it. More than half of us are part of it, but what does being “middle class” really mean? We hear it described as shrinking, but who or what is “middle class” anyway? To me, the term has always described working people who earn enough to be secure. Wage earners who earn enough to purchase homes, vehicles, and some extras while keeping their bills paid. Investopedia defines the term like this; “The middle class is a description given to individuals and households who typically fall between the working class and the upper class within a socio-economic hierarchy. In Western cultures, persons in the middle class tend to have a higher proportion of college degrees than those in the working class, have more income available for consumption, and may own property. Those in the middle class often are employed as professionals, managers, and civil servants.”
Pew Research recently published data to shows how middle income for a family of three compares by state in the U.S. Middle income in all three states in our area was considered to be just over $81,000 a year. 58 percent of people in Iowa and Wisconsin fall into that middle-income range, as do 52 percent of those in Illinois. Pew offers a handy income calculator to see how your earnings compare here: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/23/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/.
Gobankingrates.com offers up a state-by-state comparison which includes income ranges for two, three, and four-person households. The three states in our area compare like this:
Middle income ranges:
- 2-person family: $44,792.18 to $133,708
- 3-person family: $51,367.56 to $153,336
- 4-person family: $61,254.08 to $182,848
- 2-person family: $44,306.43 to $132,258
- 3-person family: $53,190.63 to $158,778
- 4-person family: $64,167.91 to $191,546
- 2-person family: $47,116.41 to $140,646
- 3-person family: $54,310.87 to $162,122
- 4-person family: $65,412.77 to $195,262
Do these amounts seem about right to you? Would you describe yourself as "middle class?" Do you think most of us fall into the middle income ranges? As a new year begins, we wish you prosperity.