There was once a middle class in
Long live the "Lower Class"
To Americans, being middle class means two things: more or less average wages that paid for life's necessities with cash leftover for discretionary spending.
In a country where those from the marginally poor to the marginally rich claim to be in the middle, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) set a factual standard: the Average American Consumer Unit.
statistically computed family, with 2.5 humans and 1.3 workers, is a
fictional construct. But, it is also the one
true benchmark that pinpoints the dead center of the American worker's economic
Beginning last year the average American family: could not afford the average single family house... depended on their employer for health care insurance or went without... were in debt with no way out... didn't pursuing further education... saved nothing... slashed their food budget to the bone... and paid at least 30% of their gross wages in taxes.
Gender, age, religion, sexual preference and marital status are of no consequence to this financial analysis. If you're human you can relate to these budget numbers.
Any family earning today's average wage of $62,857 is very carefully spending every cent of their $49,067 take home pay and the details are disturbing.
Much of the spending verified here is so deficient it will leave you baffled as to how today's average American family is getting by. Remember, the option of taking on more debt, not calculated here, or declaring bankruptcy, may be the last resort.
Housing: Goodbye house.
Hello walk-up flat or double wide trailer.
The new middle class housing is a two bedroom walk-up without the washer, dryer or dishwasher, or a double-wide trailer. The average single family home is now beyond the $1,400 monthly budget of today's average American family.
The fourteen hundred dollar number must include everything that goes with a place to live: rent or mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, utilities, telephone, public services, cable/dish, equipment, supplies and furnishings.
Fourteen hundred dollars will get you a two bedroom, average (not luxury) apartment, and leave enough for all your other average shelter costs, but only in smaller cities and towns where the Cost of Living Index (CLI) is at the national average: 100.