Averages based on statistics can be problematic when there are a few families that make billions each year. That pushes the scales upward in a way that doesn't really show a true median.
"This chart from Pew Research shows the dramatic shrinking of the middle class, defined as "adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median, about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014 dollars."
I seldom made more than $30,000 a year (and still don't); and at one point I was able to purchase a townhouse (in Key West), and afterwards, able to rent a 3-bedroom nice townhome in Gainesville, Florida for $550. a month in rent.
Currently, I live in a low-income area where rents are about $450-600 for a decent 2 bedroom apartment or mobile home.
My point is that I've always considered myself "Middle Class," albeit on the lower side of the spectrum. And I think families that have decent shelter, and own a car, and have money for food and what medical care SHOULD cost fit the definition I always held for "Middle Class."
Perhaps Middle Class should be presented as 3 tiers: lower, middle, and upper. Making over $100,000 a year is certainly in the upper portion of this category.
Another division might be those who work--at all, and those who live well exclusively on investments and fees drawn from others.
One wonders if the engineers of treaties like NAFTA understood from the get-go that they'd be setting up a global marketplace for labor which would invariably drive labor wages down. Did they endeavor to turn the U.S into a 3rd world nation after gutting its resources and using its military for backing in foreign resource/labor exploits? Was all this known from the start?
The next step--judging from the horrors contained in TIPP and TPP--is to turn every community into a polluted Texas-like outpost. (See Chris Hedges' piece today for "a preview" of things to come!)