Louisville Magazine

OCT 2015

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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40 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.15 What is What is Middle Middle Class? Class? THE MOST COMMON PROFESSIONS THAT EARN A MIDDLE-CLASS WAGE Toss out the above question. You'll get boomeranged by stats, think-tank reports, diverse opinions, more stats refuting the above stats and, probably, a general concept but no concrete answer. "Everyone thinks they're middle class," says Ken Troske, a University of Kentucky economics professor. "No one (says they're) rich unless they're just flthy rich — you know, billionaires. And no one (says they're) poor unless they're really poor." In a morning meeting here at Louisville Magazine, we debated the answer to the "What is middle class?" question. It's income-based, right? No, it's mind-set. Sure, her family has a middle-class income, but, dang, she'd like to be able to afford non-regional vacations and the security of knowing one health crisis wouldn't wipe her modest savings clean. So it's about stuff? Back in the day, a house, car and television might have given you middle-class status. Now? It's the above plus cell phones, computer and a couple of advanced degrees, right? The middle class racks up a lot of press. It needs saving. It has disappeared. We found three families who qualify at the low, middle and high ends of Louisville's wide middle-class spectrum. We calculated our range by taking Louisville's median family income — $64,100 — and applying the Pew Research Center's defnition of middle class, which is two-thirds to two times that fgure. We wanted to know: What's it like in the middle? PROFESSION NUMBER EMPLOYED ANNUAL MEAN SALARY Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations 41,340 $68,500 Education, training and library occupations 29,460 $49,850 Management occupations 29,420 $95,200 Business and fnancial operations occupations 26,580 $61,430 Registered nurses 15,220 $60,760 Computer and mathematical occupations 13,830 $66,710 $42,700-$128,200 Percentage of Louisville's approximately 305,832 households** whose median annual income is: <$42,500: 34% $42,500-$127,000: 58% >$128,000: 8% of middle-class households identify as white. 89% of middle-class households identify as black. 7% of middle-class households identify as Hispanic/Latino. 2% $47,917 $64,100 * Louisville Metro's median household annual income (U.S. Census data) Louisville Metro's median annual income for a family of four HOUSEHOLD INCOME BY AGE GROUP *** HOUSEHOLD INCOME BY RACE *** 15-24 25-44 45-64 65+ $18,936 $54,392 $59,703 MIXED RACE HISPANIC/ LATINO BLACK WHITE $49,844 $38,982 $19,708 $44,082 $36,055 * HUD statistics 2015. **Includes families and individuals. ***The average of each Census tract's median household income. Sources: 2013 American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics. ANNUAL INCOME FOR LOUISVILLE'S MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES

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