Income, debt, examples of ordinary Americans

The typical middle-class American earns between about $30,000 and $90,000

According to Pew, a single American earning between $30,000 and about $90,000 a year is an average income. A two-person household would need to earn between $42,000 and $127,000 to qualify.

Just over half of Americans surveyed by Northwestern Mutual in 2018 said the range for being middle class was between $50,000 and $99,999.

“The average middle-class household has about $70,000 in income after taxes and transfers,” writes a Brookings essay. “To be part of the middle class, a household of three would have an income between $40,000 and $154,000.”

A middle-income three-person household earns about $52,000 to $156,000 each year by Pew’s definition.

A household of four should earn between $60,000 and $180,000. Five-person households earning roughly between $67,000 and $201,000 are also considered middle class.

The income of middle-class households has risen over the past decade, although the pandemic has pushed them back further. As the chart above shows, the median income of a three-person middle-class household in 2020 dollars was $79,838 in 2010, according to Pew analysis. In 2019, it had risen to $92,042, then dropped to $90,131 in 2020.

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