What does ‘rich’ mean to you?

Once you’ve thought about that answer, consider these numbers. According to the Census Bureau:

In 2020, the median household income was $67,251, down from $69,560 in 2019. (Median is the midpoint—half of people are above it and half are below it.)

In 2020, the median earnings of men who worked full-time year-round were $61,417. For women, the equivalent number was $50,982. The median earnings of all workers 15 and older with earnings was $41,535.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), ”Among households in the highest quintile, average income before transfers and taxes was $321,700 [in 2018], compared with $77,500 among households in the middle quintile and $22,500 among those in the lowest quintile.”

But, the CBO notes, that doesn’t tell the full story: “Moreover, income before transfers and taxes was skewed toward the very top of the distribution within the highest quintile. Average income before transfers and taxes among households in the 81st to 90th percentiles (the lower half of the highest quintile) was $172,400 in 2018, whereas income among households in the top 1 percent of the distribution (1.2 million households) averaged $2 million.” And the difference between those in the 99.9th to 99.99th percentile and those in the top 0.01% was even bigger.

Find out whether your income puts you in the upper, middle, or lower tier in your area.

How does your gut-level answer about what makes someone rich compare with the numbers?

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