An Episcopal priest who, with her husband, brings in about $65,000 a year tells Marketplace that they are lower middle class. A woman posting at dcurbanmom.com identifies her family as middle class, and their income is $100,000 a year. CNN talks to a man struggling to save for his son’s education who defines “middle class” as families with too much to qualify for federal Pell Grants””which is at most about $48,000 for a family of three. I was eligible for Pell Grants, and before that for subsidized school lunches, but I’ve always understood my family of origin to be middle class.
A majority of Americans consider themselves middle class, a recent Pew survey found, despite a wide variance in their earnings. So what does “middle class” mean if it applies to most of the country? And if we are all middle class now, what are the political and cultural implications?