Defining “Rich” Depends on How Rich—or Poor—You Are

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
(AP Photo)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is how rich a “rich” person really is.


Americans have varying views on what it means to be wealthy, in terms of dollar amounts, according to The New York Times.


Those making $25,000 or less annually say you’re rich when the bank account has, on average, $293,000 in it. Individuals earning between $30,000 and $60,000 each year believe the magic number is $394,000.


Up next, people with annual incomes between $60,001 and $120,000 need $426,000, on average, to be rich. Finally, the upper strata of American life (anyone making $120,000 or more) say they must have $501,000 to reach their wealthy plateau.


Regardless of how much money it would take to be rich, the vast majority of Americans (nearly 75%) believe they won’t become wealthy in their lifetime. About 20% said becoming rich was somewhat likely.


A demographic breakdown revealed other variations in people’s perceived chances of making it.


“Women, independents and those with less education were slightly less optimistic than men, partisans of either side or people with college degrees,” the Times’ Lynn Vavreck wrote. “But these differences were hardly the most interesting. Living in the city rather than the country was associated with increasing expectations about becoming rich.”


For instance, 28% of urbanites believe there’s at least a small chance of being a rich person, compared with 18% of suburban dwellers and only 5% of country folk.


The data was derived from a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by the research firm, YouGov.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Definition of ‘Rich’ Changes With Income (by Lynn Vavreck, New York Times)

Retailers Adjust to Rich Getting Richer and Middle Class Fading (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Super Rich Have Different Government Spending Priorities…and More Influence(by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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