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To Live Like A Middle Class Citizen In NYC, You Have To Make At Least $80,000

Alyson Shontell

The New York Times set out to define what "middle class" means in Manhattan.

It points out that Manhattan is one of the only places in the world where a housing project can sit next to a luxury penthouse.

What does a middle class citizen in NYC look like?

According to NYT:

  • Middle class people in NYC make between $45,000 and $134,000 per year (in other parts of the country the range is $33,000 to $100,000 per year)
  • In order to feel middle class and have some sort of purchasing power, they have to make at least $80,000.
  • Middle class citizens spend between $200,000 and $588,000 when buying homes in NYC.
  • The usually don't have children (only 17% of households in NYC have kids)
  • The average Manhattan apartment costs $3,973 a month, more than $2,800 the national average. The average home in Manhattan sold for $1.46 million last year.
  • Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, says middle class status depends on how long a person has lived in Manhattan. " If you bought an apartment prior to 2000, or have long been in a rent-stabilized apartment, you could probably be a teacher in Manhattan and be solidly middle class," he tells NYT. "But if you bought or started renting in a market-rate apartment over the last 5 or 10 years, you could probably be a management consultant and barely have any savings."
  • Of course, being middle class is also a matter of opinion. A woman who makes $40,000 per year told NYT: “Middle class, to me, is having a pretty good job, enough money to pay bills and rent, and then a little extra.”

If you make more than $790,000 in Manhattan, you're considered part of the 1%. "T he wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites make 40 times more than the lowest fifth," says NYT.

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