We’re all middle class

Okay, maybe not quite all of us, but as the latest Gallup analysis suggest, when it comes to our own class identification, certainly most of us.  I’m actually surprised “working class” is that hight.

Americans most likely to see themselves as middle class.gif

It’s also notable that there’s not a particularly large partisan division:

Income and Party identification.gif

Anyway, if you ever wondered why politicians love to talk about helping the “middle class” here’s why.  And although they never really say “working class” I’m sure they’re “helping working families” formulation gets at those “working class” voters.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

3 Responses to We’re all middle class

  1. arra95 says:

    “75,000” and more is a very odd maximum bracket. For example, it doesn’t capture the fact that 8/10 of the wealthiest counties (with mean household incomes double that) went for the president.

    Why are you surprised that working class is so high? I would include in this all blue-collar workers, low-end services (McDonald’s etc.), and other such positions. It would make sense that about a third of our country falls in this category, no?

    • Steve Greene says:

      Because, I figured even most people who work for McDonald’s self-identify as “middle class,” regardless of what their income would suggest. Every semester I ask my students to raise their hands (I know, very imperfect) if they are middle class and it’s usually over 90%.

      • arra95 says:

        Actually, I don’t think it’s imperfect at all (well, maybe a bit). I was in an argument with someone the other day whether the income patterns on the SAT data set was an important source of information. He said no because students are asked to report their income in brackets of $50,000 up to $200,000. I think it’s a very good method, on the other hand, because even if it doesn’t show the correlation between class and SAT scores it shows the correlation between PERCEIVED class and scores, which is more important in my opinion.

        That said – I think growing up you have a cultural idea of what “middle-class” might be. I just don’t think that in this environment someone making between 20 and 25k can live that way. My guess is they very much realize that they’re in a bad position at the bottom of a very bad economy, unfortunately.

        It looks like about 3% of the people consider themselves “upper class”. This surprises me more. Even the bottom-half of the top 1% live their lives more similar to the middle-class than the real “upper” class.

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