When you think of “middle class,” you may assume the vast majority of people in the United States. But according to the Pew Research Center, the middle class is getting smaller. In 2016, just 52% of Americans made enough money to be considered “middle class.” Sadly, 29% of Americans now sit in the lower class, while 19% are upper class. In order to be considered middle class, the collective household income needs to be between $78,442 and $172,152 per year. However, some studies claim that the true median household income is closer to $53,000. It really just depends on where you live. In a lot of ways, being middle class is more than how much money you make. It’s a lifestyle and a culture.
Some people are proud to call themselves “middle class” because at least it means they’re not poor. Many of them had to fight to escape poverty, especially after being shackled with student loan debt. Others are ashamed, and try to pretend that they are actually part of that smaller upper class. So, you might be wondering- Can people tell that you’re middle class? We broke down 30 signs of why they may be able to.
30. Owning a Car You Can’t Afford
In the United States, we care a lot about cars. Whatever you drive becomes a status symbol, and says a lot about you as a person. This puts pressure on people into getting a nicer car. Public transportation is typically set aside for the poor. Even when people in the middle class need a ride, they often opt for ride-share apps like Uber instead of taking the bus or train. Unfortunately, this lifestyle is not sustainable for many people in the middle class. According to a report by The Washington Post, more than 7 million American people have fallen behind 3 months or more on their car payment.
In November of 2019, CBS This Morning investigated the situation and found that the vast majority of these cars that were repossessed are new, American-made trucks and SUVs. This means that the middle class tends to overspend on their monthly car payment for the sake of appearance. Someone who is more savvy with their money would either buy a used car or pay far less for a car made by a foreign manufacturer from countries like Japan and Korea. If you can afford to keep your car, you’re doing well compared to a lot of other people.