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Upper Class In America Larger Than Many Think.

If you ask Americans who should be considered wealthy, you'll get many different answers. But one thread ties those responses together, and it can be paraphrased this way: "If they make more money than I do, then they're rich."

In other words, people with household incomes of less than $50,000 believed people who earned $200,000 a year would be considered rich, according to a ( Washington Post poll . But people who made six-figure salaries said Americans shouldn't be considered rich unless they were making half a million dollars annually.

( Read: What Defines The Middle Class? Half Of Americans Live In The Center

Of course, that definition is subjective - an interpretation based on personal experience instead of data. But finding an objective definition of the upper class isn't easy, either. The U.S. Census Bureau, the government organization that keeps tabs on this information, doesn't have an ( official definition for the upper class, or any class for that matter. 

The Pew Research Center ( attempted to define class tiers in a 2014 report, in which the center came up with these strata based on median income: Upper class families earned more than twice the median income of American families; middle class families earned between two-thirds and twice the median income; and lower-income families earned less than two-thirds of the median income.

( Read: Who Is Rich In The US? 10 Wealthiest People In America

If this is difficult to understand, don't fret. It's a lot of jargon, but it can be easily explored when broken down by numbers.

In 2014, middle class families of three people would have made between ( $42,000 and $125,000 , according to Pew's definition. That means families of three would have to make about $125,000 to qualify as upper class families in 2014. If your family had four people, then you'd have to earn $144,251 to be considered upper class. And, if you had five people in your family, you'd have to bring in more than $160,000. Those figures might surprise the majority of millionaires who have considered ( themselves to be middle class.

The median income for an upper class family in 2014 was $173,207. But it was $72,919 for middle class families, and $23,811 for lower class families - evidence to support the theory that ( income inequality was only growing wider.

Based on Pew's definitions, 12 percent of Americans would be considered upper middle class in 2014, and 9 percent would be considered upper-class, at the top of the income tier.   

However, those definitions get trickier when it comes to self-reflection. Only 1 or 2 percent of Americans have been willing to label themselves upper class, ( according to the Brookings Institute . That understanding was further adopted by the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, when demonstrators called themselves the "99 percent," separating themselves from the supposed 1 percent in the upper classes.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Mar 22, 2017
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