who are the middle class
Source News for Social Justice Activists
Date 07/03/23/08:20

Congressional Research Service (CRS)
March 20, 2007

Who Are the "Middle Class"? [20 March 2007]
Brian W. Cashell, Specialist in Quantitative Economics, Government and Finance Division
[full-text, 6 pages]

There is no consensus definition of "middle class," neither is there an official
government definition. What constitutes the middle class is relative, subjective, and not
easily defined. The mid-point in the distribution is the median and in 2005 median
household income was $46,326. How far above and below that amount the middle
stretches remains the question. The Census Bureau publishes figures breaking the
income distribution into quintiles, or fifths. The narrowest view of who might be
considered middle class would include those in the middle quintile, those households
with income between $36,000 and $57,660. A more generous definition might be based
on the three middle quintiles, those households with incomes between $19,178 and
$91,705. Surveys suggest that 1% to 3.3% of the population consider themselves to be
upper class. Comparing those figures with the income distribution would put the
dividing line between middle and upper class close to if not above $250,000. Similarly,
survey responses suggest that the lower end of the middle class might be close to

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