If you’ve ever sat by yourself, looked around your overpriced flat in an area of Los Angeles that isn’t nearly as cool — or as stabbing free — as the realtor assured you, or your drafty shoebox apartment in New York City that an Albanian immigrant prostitute was murdered in 90 years ago, or your totally average place in Portland or Austin that has increased its rent one-thousand percent in the last decade, and wondered, “With the money I make right now, could I be a mogul in Cleveland? Or a full on actual feudal lord with real serfs and a loyal regiment of knights in Detroit?” then allow me to direct you to this NPR graph and also answer, “Yes, probably” to both of those hypothetical questions.
NPR has put together a little chart that asks, “What Is Middle Class?” The answers, which are charted city by city, are as varying as they are surprising.
Not to keep ragging on Detroit, but sweet Jesus Detroit! $12,000 a year qualifies as middle class!? The Thunderdome city from Mad Max has a higher cost of living! It would cost George Lucas more to rebuild your city with CGI than it would to just actually rebuild it.
I won’t lie, this list made me feel pretty good about myself, because I am a shallow, hollow man who craves material affirmation. It’s a douche thing to say, but I would be upper or upper-middle class in most of these cities, and these figures are based on family incomes. I have the income I have and all without the burden of anyone who loves me! SCORE!
My guess is that Austin, the city I live in currently but which isn’t on the list, is probably most similar to Nashville, Denver, Portland, or Dallas. Also, it looks like I would be quite the catch in my hometown of St. Louis (which I already knew because, based on the amount of matches I get, my Tinder appeal is ten times stronger back home — living in a handsome city is for idiots).
So where do you fall, class-wise, in the different cities? Does it make you regret living where you live now? Or would being LeBron James’ best friend by virtue of being one of the ten richest people in Cleveland be too annoying to be worth it?