Another Top-10 List — Best (and Worst) States to Live on a Middle Class Income

While the share of middle-class Americans is shrinking (from 55 percent of adults in 2000 to 51 percent in 2014), they still make up the greatest income cohort in the U.S. according to the Pew Research Center.   Pew defined middle class adults as those earning between two-thirds to double the national median of $55,775 as of 2016.  Depending on family size, following is the amount that a family needs to earn to be middle class in the U.S.

  • Household of One — $24,042 to $72,126
  • Household of Two — $34,000 to $102,000
  • Household of Three — $41,641 to $124,925
  • Household of Four — $48,083 to $144,251
  • Household of Five — $53,759 to $161,277 developed a methodology to identify the best and worst places for middle class Americans to reside.  Factors included:

  • Income Trends – change in median income of middle class from 1999 to 2014 and change in proportion of middle class in the same period for each state
  • Higher Education Trends – college graduation rate, tuition and fees and the five-year change in tuition and fees
  • Housing Trends – Median list price of homes, estimated monthly mortgage payment and homeownership rates by state

Other factors included:

  • state unemployment rates
  • state property tax rates
  • state sales tax rates
  • annual child care costs
  • cost of groceries
  • school district grades
  • average family health insurance premiums
  • employer contributions to employee health insurance
  • annualized violent crime rates
  • annualized property crime rates

Income and home prices received double the weighting.   The finding of the top-10 states are listed in the following table.

As always, if there are winners then others are losers.   The following table details the most challenging states for the middle class based on metrics.

Being defined as middle class varies from one to state to the other.  In a different study, middle class income for every state was listed.   To take a look click

To read the entire article including ranking of all 50 states click

Some places are simply more expensive than others to reside.  At the same time, many are willing to take that greater cost to live where they so desire.

In September of this year, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that U.S. median household income was $59,039 in 2016, up 3.2 percent from the prior year to an all-time record (adjusted for inflation).    Good news for the American Middle Class.

Once again, for me, the weather is a very important issue as to where to live.   So cost of living and comparative incomes, without avoiding the cold, is not an answer to my residence issue.



  1. Frank

    9 out of the 10 worst middle class states are Blue, 10 of 10 best middle class states are red, makes you think a little.

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