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New York is One of the Most Expensive States to Be “Middle Class,” and Here is How Much a Four-Member Family Needs 

New York is becoming increasingly expensive for the middle class, a new study found. On average, you will need around $15,000 more in this state compared to Florida for a four-member family. 

The bare minimum for a middle-class family in New York Area 

A study by the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that the minimum income for a middle-class family of four living in New York is $81,396. The findings were based on 2023 data, representing a significant jump from 2022, when the minimum was $74,908. 

New York is not the most expensive state

Hawaii is the only state costlier than New York, where a four-member family needs $82,630 to be considered middle-class. D.C. also requires $81,396, while living in Massachusetts requires $76,463 for a family to be part of the middle class. Jersey and Connecticut are almost among the most expensive states. 

NYC takes the cake 

Compared to other cities in the U.S., NYC is on top, though globally, it is behind Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore, and Paris. To comfortably live in NYC, a person should be making $66 per hour, SmartAsset found. Parents would need to make over $300k in the Big Apple to live with two children. 

Decline of middle class

A 2022 Pew Research Center study focused on the decline of middle-class families in the past decades. Five decades ago, over 60% of families were part of the middle class, while in 2021, the percentage dropped to around 50. The upper class made 14% fifty years ago, while today, it has risen to 21%. 

The cheapest states 

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, West Virginia, and Mississippi were at the bottom of the list. In Mississippi, it takes $60,431 annually to be part of the middle class. That’s over $10k more than the median household income in 2021. 

Florida is somewhere in the middle 

To be considered middle class, a four-member family must make $67,835 to live decently in Florida. While that’s much lower than New York State, it is much more than Alabama and Arkansas, where a family needs only $51,798. 

California is close to Florida 

Consumer Affairs study found that to be considered middle class in California, the annual income required for a family of four to be $69,064. San Francisco and Los Angeles are among the most expensive cities in the world, though wages in California are also larger than in the rest of the U.S. 

Wealth gap 

The decline of middle-class families could worsen, warned David Delisle, a financial literacy expert, while talking to the Post. Delisle added that this could lead to chaos, with the rise of people who can’t afford anything and the increase of those who will have more money than they could ever spend. 

Expensive cities with bigger wages 

Among the top ten priciest cities where the middle class makes the most are five from California – Irvine, San Jose, San Francisco, Fremont, and Sunnyvale. The rest are Cary, North Carolina, Arlington, Virginia, Naperville, Illinois, Frisco, Texas and Bellevue, Washington. 

Income gaps 

The widening of the income gap was noted, also in the Paw Pew Research Center’s study. It showed how income grew in the past decades, comparing 1970 to 2020. The lower class made around $20k in 1970 compared to $29900 in 2020. Middle-income families went from less than $60k to around $90k. The upper class increased from approximately $130k to $220k. 

Inflation is one of the reasons 

Inflation is negatively impacting middle-income families, but it is not the only factor. Oliver Rust from Truflation shared that some people are falling into the lower class while others are moving up. The aging population is on the rise, and since they generate little to no income, it influences the overall statistics. 

The U.S. rents are the highest in the world 

The 2023 study found that cities in the United States dominate the list of the cities with the highest rents worldwide. New York was classified as the most expensive city to rent in ahead of Singapore. 

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