Where is America's Middle Class?

Rarely does a candidate for office speak without paying homage to America’s  Middle Class.  A recent Pew Research Study offers insights to the geography and ideology of this hallowed group. 

 

Who qualifies as middle income?

Pew’s definition for a “middle income” single person is between roughly $24K and $72K annually. For a family of four that number rises to  from $48K to $144K. 

 Middle Class Strongest in Purple Midwest 

 Pew found that the metro areas with the highest percentage of their populace as middle income populations were centered around smaller cities in the Upper Midwest.   Most of these cities trend moderate including the Blue State Kankakee, IL and the Indiana cities of Elkhart and Goshen.  There are two glaring exceptions to this trend.  The Democratic stronghold of Honolulu and the staunchly Republican Ogden-Clearfield, UT metro area both have strong middle income populations.

 

Metro Area

Population % Middle Income

Wasau, WI

67

Janesville-Beloit, WI

65

Sheboygan, WI

63

Urban Honolulu, HI

63

Lebanon, PA

63

Ogden-Clearfield, UT

63

Kankakee, IL

62

Elkhart-Goshen, IN

61

Eau Claire, WI

61

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH

60

 

More Affluent Communities in Northeast, Bay Area

With the exception of Midland, TX (oil and gas wealth) nearly all the cities with the highest percentage of upper income residents were in Blue States.

 

Metro Area

Population % Upper Income

Midland, TX

37

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

32

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV

32

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

31

Barnstable Town, MA

30

Hartford-West Hartfod-East Hartfod, CT

30

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

30

Norwich-New London, CT

29

San Francisco-Oakland-Heyward, CA

29

Trenton, NJ

28


Least Prosperous Communities in Southwest Corridor

 

Metro Area

Low Income Population Share

Laredo, TX

47

Brownsville-Hartlington, TX

47

Visalia-Porterville, CA

46

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

46

Las Cruces, NM

46

Yuma, AZ

45

El Paso, TX

44

Fresno, CA

43

Merced, CA

43

Lake Havasu City, Kingman, AZ

43

 Stretching from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to Central California, these ten cities all share the highest percentage of low income populations in the country.  This does not mean they have the most poverty, inner cities and poor rural areas still have large shares of the nation’s poor.  It is also tough to define these areas politically.  Some like, Laredo Texas, are Democratic strongholds.  While others, like Fresno, fall near  the middle of the political spectrum. 

 We invite you to read the 2016 study by the Pew Research Center by clicking here.

 As always, we invite you to join our conversation on social media with #chismstrat.

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