I hear the talking heads yelling about our economy on a daily basis. You turn on any news channel and you hear "experts" say that "The middle class in America is disappearing." Is that true? Is the wage gap getting so large that the middle class is shrinking?

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Here in Montana, our idea of what is considered "middle class" differs greatly from what they might think in other parts of the country.


According to the Go Baking Rates website

Because the cost of living and average income varies so widely from state to state, the income needed to be “middle class” in one state could be much more or less than what it takes to be middle class in another. Using Pew’s definition of middle class, GOBankingRates analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey to determine how much two-, three- and four-person families need to earn in every state to qualify for this classification.

The study shows that Montana has a higher price than some states regarding being considered middle-class.

  • 2-person family middle-class income range: $43,244 to $129,086
  • 3-person family middle-class income range: $50,063 to $149,442
  • 4-person family middle-class income range: $58,586 to $174,884

Inflation has created issues for the middle class. Plus property values in Montana have skyrocketed. If prices keep going up and pay stays the same, there may be things that the middle class won't be able to afford.


Yahoo Finance recently shared an article about the things that the middle calls won't be able to afford in 5 years.

That list includes:

1.  Extended family vacations

2.  New cars

3.  Private school

4.  Enjoying retirement

5.  Homes

Will Montana continue to grow our middle class or will it disappear like it is elsewhere?

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Montanans are known for drinking alcohol but what does the data say? These results come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaire and include 10 years of responses.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2015.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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