The 15 states with the largest middle class

  • The size of the American middle class varies from state to state.
  • Using data from the US Census Bureau, we found how many households fall between 2/3 and 200% of the median household income in each state.
  • Here are the 15 states with the largest share of households falling in that middle-income group.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The number of Americans who have middle-class incomes varies from state to state.

The middle class faces a few major financial challenges compared to their wealthier peers. According to an INSIDER/Morning Consult poll, respondents who described themselves as “middle class” as opposed to “affluent” had higher levels of debt and smaller retirement savings accounts.

We recently took a look at the US states with the smallest middle classes. Here are 15 states where the middle class is quite a bit larger.

In an analysis of class in America, the Pew Research Center classified households as middle-income if they fell between 2/3 and 200% of the national median household income. We used that definition to find how many households in each US state had middle-class incomes.

According to the US Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, the median household income that year (the most recent for which data is available) was $US60,336. Using data from the Minnesota Population Center’s 2017 American Community Survey Integrated Public-Use Microdata Series, we counted up how many households in each state had incomes between 2/3 of that median (or $US40,224) and double that median (or $US120,672).

Here are the 15 states with the largest share of households falling in that middle-income bracket, along with the share of lower-income households below 2/3 the national median, and the share of upper-income households above 200%:


15. Colorado: 47.7% of households are middle income. Colorado has a smaller than average share of households in the lower-income bracket.

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Share of lower-income households:29.2%

Share of higher-income households: 23.1%


14. Maine: 47.9% of households are middle income. Maine’s median household income of $US56,277 was a bit below the national median of $US60,336.

Share of lower-income households:37.3%

Share of higher-income households: 14.8%


13. Vermont: 48.1% of households are middle income. Vermont’s poverty rate of 11.3% was below the national rate of 13.4%.

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Share of lower-income households:36.2%

Share of higher-income households: 15.7%


12. Idaho: 48.2% of households are middle income. Idaho had a much smaller than average share of upper-income households.

Share of lower-income households:39.1%

Share of higher-income households: 12.7%


11. South Dakota: 48.3% of households are middle income. South Dakota’s March 2019 unemployment rate of 2.8% was tied for fifth-lowest in the country.

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Share of lower-income households:36.9%

Share of higher-income households: 14.8%


10. Wisconsin: 48.7% of households are middle income. Wisconsin’s median household income of $US59,305 was very close to the national median of $US60,336.

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Share of lower-income households:35.2%

Share of higher-income households: 16.1%


9. Minnesota: 48.8% of households are middle income. Minnesota had a smaller than average share of lower-income households.

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Share of lower-income households:29.2%

Share of higher-income households: 22.0%


8. Kansas: 48.9% of households are middle income. Kansas’ median household income of $US56,422 was a bit below the national median of $US60,336.

Share of lower-income households:35.9%

Share of higher-income households: 15.3%


7. Nevada: 49.3% of households are middle income. Nevada’s March 2019 unemployment rate of 4.2% was above the national rate of 3.8%.

Share of lower-income households:35.0%

Share of higher-income households: 15.7%


6. Alaska: 49.8% of households are middle income. Alaska had both a much smaller than average share of lower-income households and a much larger than average share of upper income households.

Share of lower-income households:25.2%

Share of higher-income households: 25.0%


5. Iowa: 50.0% of households are middle income. Iowa’s poverty rate of 10.7% was lower than the national rate of 13.4%.

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Share of lower-income households:34.5%

Share of higher-income households: 15.5%


4. Nebraska: 50.1% of households are middle income. Nebraska’s median household income of $US59,970 was very close to the national median of $US60,330.

Esme/Shutterstock

Share of lower-income households:34.5%

Share of higher-income households: 15.4%


3. North Dakota: 50.1% of households are middle income. North Dakota’s March 2019 unemployment rate of 2.3% was the lowest among the states.

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Share of lower-income households:33.0%

Share of higher-income households: 16.9%


2. Wyoming: 50.5% of households are middle income. Wyoming’s median household income of $US60,434 was just above the national median of $US60,336.

LEOCHEN66/Shutterstock

Share of lower-income households:34.2%

Share of higher-income households: 15.2%


1. Utah: 52.5% of households are middle income. Utah had a much smaller than average share of lower-income households.

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Share of lower-income households:28.0%

Share of higher-income households: 19.5%

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