2015 June 20 Saturday
Feel Like You Are Middle Class?

Go look up where you live and check out the income range. You don't have to put an accurate income number in to find out where you stack up.

I think the geographic granularity for that method is not fine enough. If you have kids the biggest middle class question is whether you can afford to live in a school district where your kids are safe in school and have classes taught at a level that is near their level of intellectual ability.

What I wonder: If your son has a 115 IQ is he better off in a school where he's average or above or below average? Similar question for a daughter. Same answer for each?

To me the major purposes of money are insulation and convenience. I want to insulte from criminals, street people, and assorted other dysfunctional types. I also want some degree of comfort and convenience. Safety first. Then a mix of comfort and convenience. I'm closer to my ideal on safety (I think) than on comfort and convenience.

I've given up on an intellectually stimulating circle of friends around where I live and satisfy intellectual needs on the internet. Less than ideal. But good enough.

Will the cost of insulation rise?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 June 20 01:26 PM 


Comments
Black Death said at June 20, 2015 7:49 PM:

Very interesting post, especially the middle-class income slider. I plugged my own county in and found that the median middle-class income is $73514. Doesn't seem like that much, really. The comment about schools is very appropriate. Our local public school system isn't particularly dangerous, but the academics are garbage - last year I attended a talk by the superintendent, and all he talked about was diversity, inclusiveness and "white privilege" (I'm not making this up#. The information he presented on student performance #test scores, percentage of free breakfasts and lunches, single-parent households, etc.# was dreadful.

There is a high-quality Christian school system in the area. I checked their tuition - about $7100 for grades 1-8, about $8400 for high school. If you have two kids, that's quite a bite for a family income in the mid-$70's; still, well worth it if you want your offspring to receive a high-quality, value-based education with a good chance of landing a spot at a decent college.

Isolation is indeed a great advantage of affluence. Living in an exclusive gated community, well away from the riff-raff. Wealthy, interesting neighbors, eating out whenever you want, and going to the best restaurants, not Burger Biggie. Nice vacations at exclusive hideaways, not on Carnival cruise lines. The best schools for your kids. If you get sick, immediate access to the best health care available, with enough physician friends to tell you who the best doctors really are. Nice work, if you can get it.

WJ said at June 20, 2015 9:35 PM:

Our modern definition of middle class is absurd. If you aren't rich enough to afford to buy a home anywhere but the ghetto, then you aren't middle class.

You know when I finally started to do well for myself and save money? When I started telling myself that I was poor. But our consumerist, feel good culture refuses to tell people the blunt facts - over half of Americans, by any reasonable definition, are poor.

bob sykes said at June 21, 2015 6:55 AM:

Most senior faculty at Colleges and Universities are actually upper class using the income definition of the Labor Bureau. Many of them came from middle class backgrounds, and they still think they are middle class, although they left that status far behind long ago. Their voting patterns might lead you to believe they were lumpenproletariat.

Wolf-Dog said at June 21, 2015 4:11 PM:

But the continual disappearance of the middle class is because of the trade deficit, which is due to labor arbitrage.

In 2014 the combined trade deficit of the US against China, Japan, Germany and Japan was about 536 billion. This would be roughly 3 % of the GDP.
Within 10 years this would be 30 % of the GDP, but it is not just the money and lost jobs and impoverishment of the middle class, but the loss of know-how and the damage done to the work force that is becoming obsolete by staying idle that is the most worrisome.

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/index.html

Wolf-Dog said at June 21, 2015 4:12 PM:

But the continual disappearance of the middle class is because of the trade deficit, which is due to labor arbitrage.

In 2014 the combined trade deficit of the US against China, Japan, Germany and Japan was about 536 billion. This would be roughly 3 % of the GDP.
Within 10 years this would be 30 % of the GDP, but it is not just the money and lost jobs and impoverishment of the middle class, but the loss of know-how and the damage done to the work force that is becoming obsolete by staying idle that is the most worrisome.

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/index.html

Wolf-Dog said at June 21, 2015 4:14 PM:

Typographical error above: Trade deficit against China, Japan, Germany and Mexico was about 536 billion.

dsgntd_plyr said at June 22, 2015 11:01 AM:

the data cnn is using is for a 3 person household. so as a single person it's meaningless. also, the definition is based on relative income. my rough class definitions (based solely on income, not wealth, or non-cash traits):

can't afford median single-family home, but earn at least the poverty level = lower middle class
ability to afford median sfh = middle class
ability to afford median sfh + pay full price at flagship state university = upper middle class
ability to afford median sfh in best school district + pay full price at top 25 private college, or out-of-state public school = upper class
everyone else = lower class

Anonymous said at June 22, 2015 11:12 AM:

In the high-tech employment world, Middle Class seems to becoming a phase to pass through after college until round age 50. It's not uncommon to see families downsize significantly as work becomes harder to hold, while costs soar for medical emergencies, children's tuition, family courts, and elder care.

Wolf-Dog said at June 22, 2015 5:33 PM:

But isn't it ironic that the costs of so many things are going up despite the fact that in principle technology is supposed to make things cheaper?

WJ said at June 22, 2015 10:28 PM:

"But isn't it ironic that the costs of so many things are going up despite the fact that in principle technology is supposed to make things cheaper?"

Technology does not increase the amount of desirable land available. It also does not increase, or does not increase adequately, the availability of many other other types of crucial resources: water, oil, building materials, etc. Nor does it increase things which are necessarily fixed: political influence, for example.

Wolf-Dog said at June 23, 2015 2:03 PM:

I would partially disagree. Technology can increase the amount of desirable land, the availability of water, oil, building materials, etc. If we had a new and cheaper source of energy (which will one day happen, new types of nuclear, forms of geothermal or solar, etc), then distant and currently undesirable lands can suddenly become desirable, water and other rare things can then be produced at any location.

But my complaint, for example, was not about real estate (which can be made very cheap with better technologies), but things like education and basic health care that are going up with no reason but due to monopolies.

Liberty said at June 24, 2015 9:55 PM:

"If you have kids the biggest middle class question is whether you can afford to live in a school district where your kids are safe in school and have classes taught at a level that is near their level of intellectual ability."

Like so many other Americans, we fell into that fallacy as well. As two income professionals, we "stretched" to get a nice house in what is considered a "prime" school district, and then sent our kids to a private school on top of that. Both my husband and I were killing ourselves to afford the luxury of isolation from the criminal elements.

A change in our family situation compelled us to really change our family situation - my DH asked me if I would consider resigning my position and becoming a fulltime homemaker to our four children, as his new position was going to involve extensive travel. After much consideration, I agreed to do so. We also made the decision to move, since maintaining our "nice home in the right school district" really wasn't going to be affordable on one income, nor were two new car payments, etc. A major re-set was in order.

The other re-set we made was to decide to homeschool our kids, which we assumed would be a temporary thing. It ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made. And freeing oneself from the tyranny of the "best school district" charade opens up a whole other world of possibilities.

I checked the slider scale. In our old community, our two incomes put us at the top of the income range for "middle class" in that county. In our new community, we are "not middle class" but decidely upper income - on one fulltime income and a sporadic part-time income. I have managed to have ample freelance work referred to me that I can pick and choose how much I want to work, and earn (although I realize that not everyone has that luxury).

Our family is much happier, the kids love our new house and community, we have more disposable income to spend on travel and extracurriculars that weren't in our budget before, our new community is safer, more demographically homogeneous (although the income and terminal education levels are lower) and our kids have an education far superior to what they were receiving in their institutionalized "school".

Randall Parker said at June 27, 2015 6:36 PM:

Liberty,

Great story. Thanks for sharing. I wish more people could see they ought to pull back from the rat race. The 2 income household has really high costs. Elizabeth Warren has written about it. I wonder what she thinks of choices such as yours. You've taken "right school district" off the table by making your own home the school district.

destructure said at June 28, 2015 1:35 PM:

"What I wonder: If your son has a 115 IQ is he better off in a school where he's average or above or below average? Similar question for a daughter. Same answer for each?"

I think kids are better off being in a class where they're somewhere around the 75th percentile. If they're too low in the ranking then they struggle to keep up. If they're too high in the ranking then they get lazy. You want them smart enough to master the material but still have to apply themselves. Of course, if a kid has an IQ of 90 they'll either struggle or go to a crap school. And if a kid is 150 they'll be at the top no matter where they are.


Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

      
 
Web parapundit.com
Go Read More Posts On ParaPundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright