The "middle class"

Legislation before Congress is often for the "middle class," but there is no consensus definition or official government definition of the term, according to a recent paper from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS attempts to give the term some perspective by using income data. In 2005 the median household income was $46,235. Using data in which household income distribution is divided into fifths, or quintiles, CRS considers one definition of middle class to comprise the three middle quintiles, with incomes ranging from $19,178 to $91,705, accounting for 60% of all households and 46.2% of all household income.

The paper also discusses the "economics of happiness," related to relative income and self-assessment.

Who Are the "Middle Class"?, CRS Report RS22627 (pdf, 6pp/68kB, from Open CRS), March 20, 2007

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Anonymous z54 said...

The income range given by CRS spans pretty much any income level from just below the poverty level for a family of four to just shy of being outright wealthy (unless it is for one person).

The problems with such studies, or assumptions, is that they are made by people who have no connection to their subject.

Somehow the image of someone struggling in a job at or barely above minimum wage and someone driving to a nice restaurant in the comfort of their Cadillac being included in the same group of people strikes me as both preposterous and oblivious.

I would think that we could say that if legislation is passed on the basis of the middle class family, that family would be at the upper end of the income level stipulated; not anywhere near the bottom.


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