What Economic Class are you? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What income class would you consider your family to be in?
Low-Income 80 23.26%
Middle-Class 223 64.83%
Upper-Class 30 8.72%
Other, please explain! 11 3.20%
Voters: 344. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just curious about this after reading a post in Working & Student Mamas about hiring a cleaning lady.

Based on your income level, what economic class would you consider yourself to be a part of, and if you don't mind explaining your situation briefly, that would be interesting to see too!

I'll begin - I would consider us to be low-income, but we do both work full time jobs and combined make $24 an hour before taxes. I feel like we are on the verge of becoming a middle class family, but we don't own a house and only make car payments on one car. We struggle at times, with bills being due a day or two before a paycheck. We are getting incrementally better at planning, and I am adament that we will be out of over $6,000 in credit card debt at the end of the year.
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#2 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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I would say we are on the high end of middle class. We have a house, 2 cars, I "stay home" and DH has a professional job. I have a BS, he has a BS and MA. We have about 15k in CC, 25k in student loans, and a car payment, as well as our mortgage. We live as if we are the high end of lower class because of all of our debt.
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#3 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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Aren't we all middle class?

I mean, most (and I'm gonna guess 80-90%) of the people on here.. probably feel like they are middle class... people who make tons of money still think they are middle class because there is always someone who has more stuff, more money, more cars, bigger houses, whatever... so they feel "middle" and many people who may technically be "poor" who do own homes, have their needs met, aren't starving, etc.

So it's all perception... and we all want to be average.

That being said, my dh makes more than I ever thought I would... yet we live check to check while paying off consumer debt, and we just moved to a much higher cost of living area, so we're now "poorer" as far as our lifestyle - we have a smaller apartment, we spend more % of income on rent, food, gas, services, etc.

There are places around the country where we could move and be "wealthy" on this income... but where we live, we are probably just average... or maybe less than average, as it seems everyone I meet with similar interests and lifestyle to me has more money, more house, more everything...

Lisa, mama to Lauren, Elliot, angel Marion, and baby due in the fall.
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#4 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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According to the government, we're poor/low income. According to us, not having any major debt, we're middle class. We make our money stretch.

Amy ~ Web Designing Single Mom to 4: DD14, DS12, DS5, DS3
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#5 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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We are middle class. Upper middle, solid middle or lower middle depending on who you talk to. We have a house with no furniture (dh laid off two weeks after we bought the house), two cars (kinda paid off), a whole bunch of cc debt (from living on cc when ds was in the hospital), and student loan (almost done!) and we make it a priority to have one of us with the kids. We struggle paycheck to paycheck but we are also dumping over $600 into cc a month to pay it off, $500 into a loan and $150 into a student loan. If I could get our debt gone we could definetly move on up!
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#6 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:08 PM
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I think it's called abject poverty. Zero income and $30,000 in debt.
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#7 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:12 PM
 
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I was going to pick middle class but then when I saw your description of what makes you lower class (not home owners, 1 car payment) I changed it to low income! Between DH and I we make about $75 K a year before taxes, which is a hell of a lot more than I used to make!

I don't think we are low income, but we do have debt we are paying off, and there is no way we can even think about home ownership... Then again, a fixer-upper house in Vancouver is half million dollars. We drive 80's cars (but we are a 2 car family and most of my Vancouver friends have no cars or one per household.)

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#8 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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We're what I guess you'd call "working class." We make just barely too much to be classified as "low-income," but not enough to have any real security, and we depend on DH's union membership and the benefits it ensures that we have.

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#9 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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I don't think class is easy to define. I feel like we are middle class. I have an associate degree, but I SAH. DH has never been to college, but makes very good money at our business that we own. We have no debt, and have never held a CC balance. We are currently saving to build a house in a few years. We ususally buy older cars we can pay for, we do not buy alot of new clothes. I'd say we live on $35,000 per year. Everything else we make we save. I kind of feel like "class" is an illusion. Some people who live in very little can do very well and live on it. Some can make a rediculous amount of money and have nothing to show for it. Some people look like they have alot, but are actually in debt so far up that they have a negative net-worth, while the guy renting a house and saving money has a positive net worth. Class is not important to me. I am very happy with what we have, we have more than I figured we would at this point.
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#10 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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Solidly middle class.
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#11 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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I think in terms of the whole country we would be considered middle class, but for where we live, I am sure we are lower class.
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#12 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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I voted "other." It's funny that this thread was b/c of the cleaning lady thread. We too have someone come clean our house once a month, but right now we're scraping by, so technically we're low right now. We are both students, and the aim is to not be in this situation forever. The cleaning people come help so that we can go do work instead of work on the house, so we can graduate sooner, and thus actually make money sooner!!! Then who knows, maybe we'll some day be upper class!! If we ever are, I hope that we continue to live the way we do now. It's not fun being poor, but for example when we go "have fun" it's always free stuff that we all do together, which I enjoy more than expensive individual activities!!!

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
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#13 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I just saw a Money magazine breakdown of which income qualifies a person as being "Upper Class" in America, and according to that, we are upper class. In this area, though, it only means we own a modest house (1600 square feet) and two 10-year old cars. We live frugally, but we do pay close to what I'd consider top dollar ($205/week) for an excellent-quality Montessori daycare/preschool for our daughter. If we're going to splurge, I think that splurging on our daughter's care and education is well worth it.
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#14 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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I would classify us as middle class, but I really have no idea. We're not living high on the hog, but we're not broke, so that leaves the middle, right?

I SAH but have a master's degree, my DH has a PhD and is a professor at a community college, we own our home (with two mortgages - couldn't afford a down payment), and own our beater cars outright. We have something like 25-30k in DH's student loans, but that's it for debt. And it's a really low interest rate.

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#15 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 09:06 PM
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Upper-middle class, low income.

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#16 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PajamaMama View Post
Solidly middle class.
Now...I said this, based on what my perception of middle class is...

I went to wikipedia and now I don't know what my answer should be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Househo..._United_States

I have a bachelor's degree in economics but do not work outside the home. My husband has an MBA. He works in a profession, not a job. We own a home in a suburb, and two cars. We are on track regarding saving for retirement and our childrens' college educations. Our annual income puts us in the 95th% of earners in the US. BUT...we don't take extravagant vacations...our cars are 8 and 11 years old...we grocery shop on a budget...we don't pay for private school...I would like to see what people's perception of 'class' is before I say that we're 'middle' class or anything else.
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#17 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think every person defines class for him/herself. And based on your own personal definition of them, which do you feel you fall into?

I'm sure that based on our yearly income we could potentially fall into the middle class, but I certainly don't consider us to be middle class yet. We have nothing to our names except a car worth potentially $750 and another car that we owe $4000 on and is probably worth $5000.

As others have pointed out, where you live really matters too. I checked on HUD housing today to see what kind of a home loan we would qualify for, and they said about $130,000 I think. There is no way we could ever find a home for that amount here, but elsewhere in the country we could probably buy a decent home for that price.
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#18 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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Middle class, I would say. We make more than the average household income for our area, we own a home right in the average price for a house in our area, we have one new-ish car, I am a SAHM. Dh has a degree and works in a professional occupation.

mommy to ds 11/05, dd1 01/08, and dd2 01/10!
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#19 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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I think we're just above lower (economically). We live in a fairly inexpensive part of the country in an inexpensive house in an inexpensive neighborhood. We are also union members, so we don't pay for our health and dental. DH and I are both students. He'll finish his program at the end of the summer and I will finish in a couple of years. During his post-doc, we'll be bumped to middle class and after he gets a permanent position, and I also start working full time, we will probably be at the higher end of middle. We have no debt and few expenses, so we live a much more comfortable life than a lot of people with similar incomes.

Socially, we are upper middle class. DH has two BSs, two Master's and will have a PhD at the end of the year. I have a BA. I'll have a Master's at the end of the year and a PhD in two or three years. We're definitely being "groomed" to be upper middle class academics.

I've noticed a lot of people in school are in the same weird place as we are. Not a lot of money, but a lot of social capital.
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#20 of 122 Old 01-15-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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Look and live "middle class"

BUT since I am a single mom, somehow I still get tax refunds thanks to EIC. So, dunno
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#21 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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We are a family of three with one ten year old car that we almost never use (we think we will sell it), and we rent a one bedroom apartment. Most of our personal possessions are books. We wear nondescript old clothing and have somewhat unkempt appearances, like many other people in our artsy-hipster-meets-lower-class neighborhood. On the other hand both DH and I have advanced degrees, he makes a pretty good salary, we have no debt and we save and invest about 40% of our net income each month. So I put "middle class" because I'm not sure where else we fit
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#22 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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We live like middle-class but we are low income.

Last year, we lived off of 18K. We rent very cheaply from the inlaws. We drive cars by parents gave us as wedding gifts. We have medicad and food stamps. Dh just got a new job though so we are losing food stamps and the medical card in Feburary.


We are paying off our cc debt (2k), we income tax returns. We are planning on getting a house before summer.
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#23 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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We are upper-lower class at 21K a year . We own one car (paid off) and no house. 5K in CC debt (and shrinking), 10K in school loans which is staying about level. (amount I pay every month is about how much I borrow every semester).
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#24 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 12:10 AM
 
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low-income-ish. we live off my husbands $24k/yr for the 4 of us. both kids recieve medicaid, husband's school is completely paid for by government grants and scholarships.
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#25 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 02:26 AM
 
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Middle-Class income

Low-income lifestyle because of crippling debt
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#26 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 03:16 AM
 
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Well, according to the Wikipedia article PajamaMama posted, on just my income we are upper class.

We own our home and drive old cars. We had significant savings for many years until DH squandered it on a business that's about to cause us to go bankrupt .
So right now it feels like middle class.

However, when all is said and done with the business and I don't have to pay a nanny anymore... that will mean more disposable income, more savings, etc.

So probably upper middle class.
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#27 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 03:25 AM
 
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Well salaries here are low, but social benefits are high. DH works in youth work/education so he's never going to earn much, but he is a professional with an M.A. degree. The job comes with a car. We pay a huge mortgage for a small apt. in a prestigious neighborhood. I have a Ph.D. and huge earning potential, but I homeschooled for 3 years and am now having a mid-life crisis in deciding what to do next. DH and DD are currently on a father/daughter trip to a ski resort for 2 days, but it is beyond our budget for them to stay in a nice hotel so they are sleeping at a relative's kibbutz. We had to borrow all the snow gear. I occasionally get cleaning help, whether we can afford it or not, because it's so minor compared to what we spend on food, housing, etc. I also am spending a fortune on Pilates classes, but the kids aren't doing so many extra-curriculars right now. So I guess we are middle, but it is all relative. I grew up wealthy, but we still clipped coupons!
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#28 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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In the middle of the middle class, LOL.
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#29 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 06:21 AM
 
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I picked SOLID middle class. I am a SAHM and Dh has his own practice. We own 2 homes and have no debt. We own newer cars and they are paid off. But we live frugally. I love to shop sales and thrift shops. I rarely go into a Department store, I love shops like Tuesday Morning and Marshall's and I shop the Outlets. I clean my own home and cook our meals. We are comfortable.
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#30 of 122 Old 01-16-2007, 06:59 AM
 
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This is an extremely interesting Wiki page (I linked over from PajamaMama's page):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_middle_class

I think of us as lower middle, or middle middle, and according to the article, I was dead on:

Lower middle class, (ca. 33%) individuals who worked their way through college and commonly have a Bachelor's degree or some college education. School teachers, sales-employees and lower to mid level supervisors rank among those in this particular group. Household income is generall in the range of $30,000 to $75,000. Workers in this group are mostly white collar but have less autonomy in their work than do upper middle class professionals. Members of this class often attempt to emulate those in the two higher classes and have recently become overly indebted by their desire to have a comfortable lifestyle.

Our household income is higher than that, but we also live in Central NJ, so the COL is ridiculous.

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