What It Means to Be Middle Class: Our Facebook Fans Respond

What It Means to Be Middle Class: Our Facebook Fans RespondPhotographed by Tamara Reynolds
What does it mean to you to be middle class? We asked our Facebook fans that question, and the response was overwhelming, with hundreds of people sharing their feelings of anger, resolve, and optimism. A sampling:

It means struggling, day to day, to make ends meet. It means always working just to break even.
Michelle Grantom-Landgra

To me, it means living a good life. I have enough to pay my bills, pay my mortgage and insurance, and take very modest vacations. If I stay this way, I’ll never be wealthy, but I’ll never go hungry either.
Jo Anna Wallace

There is a perception that people who are no longer in the middle class are helpless and lazy, but that is not the case. We work very hard and work more than one job and go to the food bank to barely get by and feed our children. Emotionally, since letting go of the middle-class dream and the fear of losing it, I am more at peace and feel an enormous burden has been lifted. I am not saying that I would not like to be wealthy, but the fear of losing everything is not there anymore.
Kathryn Hansen

What middle class? There’s the top 2 percent and the rest of us.
Charles Davis

The American middle class is just as much a state of mind as it is having money. It’s knowing you live in a safe and clean community where your kids can get a good education. It has to do with a work ethic that was passed down from those who survived the Depression.
George Ross

I think it’s stability. We’ve been able to stay in the same house for the past nine years in a safe neighborhood, and we hope we’ll stay here throughout our daughters’ childhoods. It means the appearance of having it all together but not taking it for granted. It means careful planning and making choices about what’s important and letting the rest go.
Dawn Freeman Schulte

Being middle class means my children will go to college (probably with loans) and that they will work as hard as we have to make this country a better place, strive for justice, be color-blind and without prejudice, and put their family first. It also means that they will not look for anyone to blame for missed opportunities, they will not expect government assistance, and they will know that success or failure is theirs to claim.
Meg Newell

Middle class in America is what we were two years ago when we both had good-paying jobs. We worked hard and played harder. Middle class was being smart enough to put aside for the rainy day and being reluctant to dig into it now that it is pouring. Middle class is worrying what the next 15 years will be like without a job or insurance before what is left of Social Security kicks in.
Dawnmarie McDougald

It means you can have dessert for every meal  — not that you should, however.
Marcia Swenson Clay

Middle class is like bologna in a sandwich; you are bitten from both bottom and top. Humor aside, we of the middle class are what makes the rest of the classes function.
Arlie D. Wood

It means tightening your belt, cutting out extras just to maintain. It means working hard and teaching your children the benefits of hard work. It means keeping what you make, not supporting other people who refuse to contribute. It means electing a government that is of the people.
Susan Ayers

See also:
The Road Ahead for Middle Class Families

Snapshots of Middle Class Families


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