The overall inflation rate in the United States has declined from its near double-digit peak in 2022. However, ordinary Americans still feel stuck, especially those in the middle class, says TikTok influencer Christopher Claflin.
“The middle class in the United States is not dying, it is already dead,” Claflin recently pointed out in a video. “The numbers are there, I can’t believe what I’m looking at here.”
In the videoClaflin launches into a comparative analysis of the cost of living between today and 1950, highlighting with the caption “Inflation is WAY worse than everyone thinks.”
Here’s what he means.
Yesterday versus now
“In 1950, the median household income was $3,300. The cost of a new house at the time was $7,354. The cost of a new car was $1,500,” he explained.
He then points out that at that time, buying a new house and car would require about two and a half times a person’s annual income.
The contrast with today’s figures is striking.
“If you project out to 2024…the median household income in 2024 in the United States is $74,000. If you buy a new car and a new house, the average cost in the United States is $434,000,” notes Claflin.
According to his calculations, current expenses for a new house and a new car equal 5.8 times the median annual household income. He pointed out that this median figure does not apply uniformly across the country, noting that in some real estate markets even a starter home is out of reach priced at $434,000.
And Claflin clearly struck a chord online with her video, as it’s garnered more than 1.2 million views and 111,000 likes since it was posted in mid-January.
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Middle class versus “good”
Claflin’s video shows how inflation has driven up the real cost of living over the decades. What particularly struck him was the disparity between what constituted middle-class status in the past and that of today.
“Your middle class in 1950, if you earned $3,300, the purchasing power of that money allowed you to buy a house and a car and those expenses were 2.5 times your annual income,” he said. declared.
So what income today would be equivalent to the purchasing power of the middle class in the 1950s? Much more.
“For a house and car in the United States to be 2.5 times your annual income to maintain the purchasing power of the middle class in the United States, what do you have to earn? $173,000 a year – to match what is traditionally middle class,” he explained.
Earning $173,000 a year can be a real challenge. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, households earning $153,001 or more are already in the highest income quintile, or the richest 20 percent of earners in the country.
Still, Claflin says earning $173,000 a year doesn’t equate to “doing well” because “that’s only for the middle class.” To truly keep up with rising prices and maintain a comfortable lifestyle, he suggests that a significantly higher income is necessary.
“To succeed in 2024 costs between half a million and a million dollars a year, which is a lot of money,” he concluded.
Indeed, these income levels are substantial, and even climbing into the top 5% income bracket in the country does not guarantee this financial situation. Census Bureau data suggests that the richest 5% of households in America have incomes of $295,001 or more.
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