Are you still in the middle class in Michigan? The new study adjusts the minimum annual income for inflation

Welcome to Pure Michigan signage along Interstate 94 in New Buffalo, Michigan on May 24, 2018. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

A new study by Consumer Affairs found the minimum annual income required for a family of four to be considered middle class in each state.

According to Oliver Rust, head of products at independent inflation data aggregator Truflation, the middle class is capturing a smaller share of income than it did in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Rust said during an interview with Consumer Affairs that in the two decades since the mid-2000s, the country’s middle class has shrunk from about 60%. Instead, there has been steep growth at the bottom and top extremes of the economic spectrum.

Inflation has risen over the past few years, reaching 9% in June 2022. This means that some households that were in the middle class in 2020 may no longer be in that category. The share of adults living in middle-class households has fallen from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2021, according to the Pew Research Center.

So what is the minimum annual income needed in 2023 for a family of four to be middle class in Michigan? Consumer Affairs found this number using a calculator provided by the Pew Research Center and an inflation calculator provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The answer is $64,130 – and that’s in the middle for the entire country and tied with Wisconsin, Wyoming, New Mexico and North Carolina. The neighboring states of Indiana and Ohio are slightly lower, at $62,897 and $61,664, respectively.

Hawaii topped the list, with an annual income of $82,630 to be considered middle class. Other states topping the list include the District of Columbia and New York (tied for No. 2), New Jersey and Connecticut (tied for No. 3), and Massachusetts (No. 4). Rounding out the bottom five are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia and Mississippi.

A different study by SmartAsset earlier this year analyzed the high and low ends of the median salary range in 100 major cities and all 50 states. In Detroit, the study found, the median household income was $36,140 and the median income ranged from $52,544 to $126,996.

According to Census data, the national median household income in 2021 was $70,784.

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