Here's how much money you need to make to be middle class in each US state


These three charts show just how many Americans in each state are lower, middle, and upper class — and what income in takes to qualify for each.

A Business Insider analysis of US Census Bureau data reveals that while 52.7% of Utah's population falls in the middle class, just 42.3% of New Yorkers are middle class. Pew Research Center defines being middle class as earning between two-thirds and double each state's median income.

In Texas, that's between $48,200 and $144,600, and in Minnesota, middle-class residents make between $54,900 and $164,700.

Americans often debate who truly belongs in the middle class. According to the Census Bureau, the real median household income nationally was $74,580 in 2022. Still, the median income per state can be as high as $101,000 and as low as $52,700, meaning that being middle class in one state could be either lower or upper class in another state.

Even those who mathematically fall into the middle class may not truly feel it. Many on the lower end of the middle class are particularly worried about having enough to meet all their daily needs while also saving for retirement. Some families have recently told BI that having over six-figure household salaries isn't enough, especially given the costs associated with raising kids.

Meanwhile, even for households making well into the six-figure range, many so-called HENRYs — or high earners, not rich yet — have enough for their daily expenses but feel like their savings are inadequate in case of an emergency or job loss. Many splurge on what matters but feel constrained, often putting off having kids or buying a home for when they feel more financially stable.

Only three states have half of households in the middle class: Utah, Idaho, and Alaska. States including Delaware, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have close to 50% in the middle class.

On the whole, the Midwest was relatively close to half, suggesting more households in these states are clustered around the median with less income dispersion than larger states.

On the flip side, New York, Louisiana, DC, and Massachusetts were all below 44% of households in the middle class, meaning that more residents fall into either upper or lower classes.

The South, on the whole, had the lowest median household incomes, with most in the mid to high $50,000s. States in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic like New Jersey, Maryland, and New Hampshire were mostly in the high $80,000s and low to mid $90,000s.

New York, California, Connecticut, and Virginia had among the highest percentages of upper-class households in the 19% to 21% range. Most states were in the 17% to 18% range, though Alaska, Utah, and Idaho were all below 15%.

To be upper-class in states with the 10 highest median incomes, households must make above $178,300 — and must make above $202,000 in Washington, DC. Mississippi has the lowest income needed to be upper class at $105,400, while West Virginia was $108,600.

These Southern states also have a higher percentage of lower-class households overall compared to other states. New York had the highest percentage at 36.8%, followed closely by Massachusetts, Montana, and West Virginia. Hawaii also had a particularly high percentage at 36.2%.

Meanwhile, some Western states had percentages as low as 32.5%. Utah, Idaho, and Colorado were in the bottom five for this metric.

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