But income alone does not determine who is in the middle, Palo Alto residents say. Educational attainment, culture and spending choices, for example, also factor into the self-identification.
One respondent with a household income between $250,000 and $300,000 for a family of four wrote that his family is upper-middle class because they don’t spend more than $500 in a single purchase — except for four weeks of travel each year, housing, their children’s activities and $1,700 each month on farmers market food.
Meanwhile, another person making between $35,000 to $50,000 yearly for a family of two wrote she is also upper-middle class because of her credentials as a former professor with advanced degrees. A third said their four-person household identified as working class while making $150,000 to $200,000 because there was “not room to have any extras.”