Here’s how much you have to make to be considered middle class in Alabama

Here’s how much you have to make to be considered middle class in Alabama

While being “middle class” in America is frequently defined by income, a report by the Washington Post in February found that while most Americans agree on what it means to be middle class, only a little more than a third actually meet the definition.

Roughly 90% of adults in the U.S. say that six factors are elements of being middle class:

  • A secure job
  • Ability to save money
  • Ability to afford an emergency $1,000 debt without expense
  • Ability to pay bills on time without worry
  • Health insurance
  • Ability to retire comfortably

The Pew Research Center, meanwhile, defines income levels for the middle class as between two-thirds to double the national median income, or $67,819 to $203,458 for a family of four. The Post survey found that most Americans think of a household income level of $75,000 to $100,000 as middle class.

The good news for Alabamians: according to a new study by GoBankingRates, the income needed to live a middle class lifestyle in Alabama remains below the national average.

The study found the minimum income needed to qualify as middle class sits at $39,739 — 41.4% lower than the lowest national figure. Only five states have a lower threshold: New Mexico ($39,148), Louisiana ($38,568), Arkansas ($37,557), West Virginia ($36,811) and Mississippi, which has the lowest household income to qualify as middle class at $35,323.

The upper end of the middle class income range in Alabama is $119,218.

At the other end of the spectrum sits Maryland, where a household income of $65,641 is the minimum household income required to live a middle class lifestyle — the highest in the nation.

But the GoBankingRates study also examined how the income needed to qualify for the middle class has changed over the last decade. Nationwide, that figure has increased by 41.7%. While Alabama’s rate of increase is below the national figure, the income needed to qualify as middle class has risen 38.1% over a 10-year period, which ranks 32nd among the 50 states.

Oregon has seen the largest jump with an increase of 53.15% to $51,088. Alaska has seen the least change with an increase of 23.5% — although the middle class income level there is still considerably higher than in Alabama at $57,580.

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