You need to make this much to be 'middle class' in California

What does it take to be considered "middle class?" Depends on where you live, of course. 

In Los Angeles, California, for example, you'll obviously need to make much more than you would in Cleveland, Ohio. By comparison for those two cities alone, incomes ranging from $23,827 to $71,124 in Cleveland are equal to $47,149 to $140,744 in Los Angeles. 

Researchers at consumer finance site SmartAsset analyzed the high and low-end of middle-class salaries in 100 large cities and every state using 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data, adopting what the Pew Research Center defines as "middle class" (Americans whose income ranges from two-thirds to two times the median household income.)


Coming out on top was Fremont in the Bay Area, which is home to the wealthiest middle class of any large jurisdiction in America, according to the study. 

In Fremont, the median household income is $155,968, and a middle-class income ranges from $104,499 to $311,936. 

Los Angeles ranks 37th among large cities for middle-class income, with a range from $47,149 to $140,744.  The median income was $70,372.

Three out of the top five cities with the highest income thresholds for the middle class are located in the Bay Area. These middle income residents need to make at least $81,623 in San Francisco, $84,673 in San Jose and $104,499 in Fremont.

Nationwide, a national salary range for a three-person household was around $52,000 to $156,000. Mississippi has the lowest middle-class salary threshold, $32,640, followed by West Virginia ($34,336 and Louisiana ($34,898).

The nation’s median household income was $70,784 in 2021, according to census data.

To see the full study, tap or click here.