Here's how much you have to earn to qualify as middle class, new study says

Brianna Taylor, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Business News

The household income required to be considered middle class in the United States varies depending on where you live. In California, the price is high.

As of 2022, middle-class household income ranged between $61,270 and $183,810 in the Golden State, according to a recent analysis from personal finance site GoBankingRates.

That’s roughly a 50% increase from 2012, when middle-class households earned an annual income of $40,933 to $122,800.

Oregon took the top spot in the U.S. with a 53.2% increase in annual income needed to be considered middle class between 2012 and 2022, followed by Washington with 52.1% and Colorado with 50.4%.

California ranked fourth.

“Over the last decade, the household income needed to be part of the middle class has increased significantly,” GoBankingrates lead writer Gabrielle Olya wrote in a May 7 article titled “Here’s How Much the Definition of Middle Class Has Changed in Every State.”


“It also takes a lot more to reach the next level of wealth,” she added.

In 2012, an annual household income of $35,364 was enough to be considered middle class. Over the past decade, the minimum requirement has increased by $14,735.

How did GoBankingRates come up with data?

GoBankingRates used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze each state’s household median income to find middle class income ranges.


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