By now you’ve probably heard the term “middle class” in the news.
That’s because the economic term is used to describe people who make less than $100,000 per year.
And it’s used to identify those people who are part of the “upper middle class” (defined in the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent report as those who earn between $75,000 and $150,000).
But what’s the definition of the term?
Is it simply the amount that a person makes, or does it include those who are middle-class, as well?
To find out, Mashable consulted the U,S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and other sources to compile this primer.
In a nutshell, the UBS economist and author of The Wealth of Nations, Emmanuel Saez, said middle-income earners typically earn less than the median household income of $51,400, while “upper” middle-earners are making between $80,000 to $130,000.
According to Saez’s analysis, middle- and upper-middle-income people are likely to be better off in 2017 than they were in 2012, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
But Saez also cautioned that “lower-income households, especially those who don’t make much money at all, are still at risk for income loss if their income falls below their means.”
So it’s important to remember that a middle- or upper-class household is not necessarily wealthier than a “lower middle-level” household.
“If you’re in the middle class, you are not going to be affected as much by a loss in income as you would be if you were in the lower middle class,” Saez said.
In the UBC’s calculations, the average annual income of a middle or upper middle- income household is between $49,200 and $59,400.
And the median annual income is between between $60,200 to $70,400 for a “middle-level household.”
So, how does the UBLS estimate the incomes of a typical UBS employee?
According to the Census, an employee making $80 and below is estimated to make about $26,600 per year; a middle level employee earning $80 to $150 is estimated for $31,400; and a “upper level” employee earning between $150 and $180 is estimated at $44,400 per year, according the Census.
The Census also estimated that a “mid-level employee” making $50,000 annually would be able to earn about $1,500 more per year than the typical middle-middle income worker.
But that’s only if they made $50 per hour, or $1.25 per hour above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The BLS uses the federal poverty level to calculate its estimate of a household’s annual income, and the Census estimates the poverty rate.
But the UBI is a bit more complicated, so it’s not clear how it would affect the median or upper incomes of someone making $100 or less per year or making $150 per year if they were classified as middle-classes.
According to the UBA, “middle income” and “upper class” are terms used by economists to describe individuals who earn less and earn more than the national average.
The UBI, the bureau says, does not consider income earned below or above the poverty level.
The UBS definition of a “sub-middle” income range is $35,000-$40,000, and “middle” is defined as $35K to $40K.
And while the Census does not categorize middle-upper income, it does define “upper mid-level income” as those earning between between 40K and 50K.
While the Census definition of “middle or upper” is used by some economists to define those making less than a certain threshold, the BLS estimates that the median and upper middle incomes of Americans are about $60K to 65K per year for middle-tier workers.
And “upper or upper mid- or lower middle income” is generally defined as those making between 65K and 70K.
Accordingly, while the UBUY survey estimates that, in 2017, about 25 percent of workers in the “middle, middle and upper class” made more than $50K, the data does not provide information on the average income of those making more than that.
The BLS survey, for example, does only provide information about median and lower middle incomes, not upper or upper or lower incomes.
The survey also does not include information on whether those making $60 to $80K per annum were also middle-status.
In addition, there’s a large gap between what middle- (or upper-) and middle- level incomes are reported to be in the BJS.
According the Census