A recent GoBankingRates study identified the best and worst states for middle-class families by analyzing factors such as average median income in each state and the cost of higher education and housing. GoBankingRates based its study off of Pew Research Center’s definition of “middle-income households” as those with an income that is two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income.
When it comes to the best states for middle-income earners, middle America takes the lead. Four out of five of the top states for this income bracket are located in this region with Iowa taking the lead followed by South Dakota (No.2), Nebraska (No. 4), and North Dakota (No. 5). Only West Virginia at No. 4 manages to break up this Midwest block.
According to the study, in Iowa the median household income of middle-class families is $75,000 while in-state tuition and fees clock in at $8,270 and the average monthly mortgage payment at $787.
The rest of the top five hover around these stats, with the lowest average monthly mortgage payment occurring in West Virginia ($718). West Virginia also has the highest percent increase in the proportion of households earning middle-class incomes. Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota also saw an uptick in their proportion of middle-income earners.
Unsurprisingly, some well-known pricey locales make up GoBankingRates top five worst states for middle-class families to live. Coming in as worst of the worst is Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, California, New York, and New Jersey.
In Hawaii the median household income for middle-class families is $74,529 with in-state tuition and fees coming in at $10,670 and the average monthly mortgage payment reaching $2,594.
Despite it coming in second on the worst list due in part to its high tuitions costs ($12,280), Massachusetts has the highest graduation rate in the county. However, it will be interesting to see if that holds true, as GoBankingRates found that the middle class is shrinking faster in this state than any other.
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