ATLANTA - With each passing day, it seems harder to escape the pervasive effects of inflation that have gripped the nation. From the grocery store to the gas pump, the cost of living continues to rise, leaving families struggling to make ends meet.
The middle class is capturing a lower share of income than in the '60s, '70s and '80s, according to Oliver Rust, head of Product at independent inflation data aggregator Truflation. Rust said during an interview with Consumer Affairs that in the two decades since the mid-2000s, the portion of the country that is middle class has shrunk from roughly 60%. Instead, there has been a steep increase at the extreme bottom and top of the economic spectrum.
Inflation has surged in the past few years, peaking at 9% in June 2022. That means some families that were middle class in 2020 may no longer be in that category. The Pew Research Center says the share of adults who live in middle-class households fell from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2021.
So, the question is, what is the minimum annual income required in 2023 for a family of four to be middle class in Georgia?
And the answer is, $65,364.
The good news, it's not the highest amount on the list. Hawaii tops the list. An annual income of $82,630 is required to be considered middle class in that state. Other states topping the list include District of Columbia and New York (tied), New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. The bottom five include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia and Mississippi.
A different study earlier this year by SmartAsset analyzed the high and low-ends of the range of middle-class salaries in 100 large cities and all 50 states. Their research found that Atlanta the median household income is $74,107 with the middle class income ranging from $49,652 to $148,214.
The nation’s median household income was $70,784 in 2021, according to census data.
P.S. If you are interested in the increase in the lower-income tier and the upper-income tiers, the increase in the share of adults in the upper-income tier went from 14% in 1971 to 21% in 2021 and the share of adults in the lower-income tier went from 25% to 29% for the same years.