Business Insider is stunned by the notion that Silicon Valley residents who earn $400,000 a year consider themselves middle class. Yet they are; the only reason Business Insider doesn’t think so is that neither it nor Palo Alto Online — the source of Business Insider‘s data — understands the difference between class and income.
According to the Pew Research Center, “middle class” includes families of four that earn $48,000 and $144,000. But that’s not middle class; that’s middle income. While classes and incomes can be correlated, they are not the same. Social classes include upper, middle, and lower, but most of lower being working class.
The working class includes people who earn incomes through manual labor and who generally do not have college degrees. But some of them may earn a lot of money, such as the Long Island Railroad conductor who earned $239,000 in 2009. Continue reading