What Is Considered Middle Class In Southwest Michigan?
The other day, as I was visiting with a friend, talking about growing up as a “Boomer”, he offered me the choice of a cup of coffee, or whatever. I wandered over and opened the door to the fridge for an Ice Mountain, and observed 3-dozen eggs. It seemed to me he was either “hoarding”, or blessed with enough bucks to insure a breakfast of bacon & eggs, for the next couple of months.
It’s sad to say, but having an abundant number of eggs in your household has become sort of a status symbol. But what is the status that you are currently living at? According to the Pew Research Center, a little over half of U.S. adults are living in middle-income households. In 1971 it was 61%.
Pew has a calculator named Are You in the Middle Class? It comes in handy, in order to find out where you fall in the caste system. All you need to do is enter your state, metropolitan area, household income (before taxes), and the number of people in your household.
Pew has softened the blow of the current caste system by labeling the results as an “income tier”, but we all know what they really mean. The politically incorrect terms are upper class, middle class, and lower class.
Based on a $40,000 income, here is the breakdown for Southwest Michigan. If you have up to two people in your household, you join 55% of the people who are considered middle class.
If you have 3 people in your household, you have entered the world of the lower income tier. 26% of the households in the fertile crescent of the Kalamazoo Valley are considered lower tier.
Now if you want to get a bare-bone look at where you stand in this fishbowl that is shaped like a mitten, you can enter your education, age, race/ethnicity, and marital status. You will discover how many American adults, with your profile, fall into the three income tiers. You will either be satisfied, depressed, or could care less.
But keep in mind, the inflation that has taken place since 2020. Those were the “good ol’ days”. According to AAA, in the beginning of 2020, a gallon of unleaded gas in our area was around $2.16.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show eggs have an Unadjusted Percent Change of 70.1% since January of 2022. You can view the entire list if you really want to get bummed out.
The final Pew Research Center tally for the caste system, in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area: Upper Class 19%, Middle Class 55%, Lower Class 26%.