This is how much you need to be considered 'middle class' in California

It's no surprise that it's expensive to live in California. 

While the definition of "middle class" can vary from person to person, generally the main factors used to determine it are location and family size. 

The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows the middle class has been shrinking in the last five decades, hovering around 50%. 

"Middle class" is defined by the PRC as those earning between two-thirds and twice the median American household income, which in 2021 was $70,784, according to the United States Census Bureau. That means American households earning between $47,189 to $141,568 are in the "middle class" as defined by the PRC.


 According to a Gallup poll, at least half of the U.S. adult population has identified as middle or upper-middle class since 2002. 

Here are the income thresholds for the middle class in California's largest metros:

Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim

Low-end middle class: $55,000 
High-end middle class: $165,000

Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario 

Low-end middle class: $51,000
High-end middle class: $154,000

San Diego, Chula Vista, Carlsbad 

Low-end middle class: $61,000
High-end middle class: $182,000

San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley 

Low-end middle class: $77,000
High-end middle class: $232,000

As of April 2022, 52% of adults consider themselves middle or upper-middle class.


If you're curious to see where you fall, you can use Pew Research Center’s Are You in the Middle Class? calculator.