My cousin and I had an interesting conversation the other day. She asked me what wage I considered to be the starting point for the middle class. Off the top of my head, I said $50,000. She disagreed, and insisted that it started around $30,000. I guess it all depends on what part of the country you live in. And I think personal perspective plays a part in the idea of the middle class too.
When we bought our first house in KY, John only made $20,000 annually. At the time, I thought we were living the good life (Which is laughable now. How did we even survive?). If you would have asked me back then, I probably would have said we were middle class.
I think all Americans like to consider themselves middle class. No one wants to be poor and no one ever thinks they have too much money. So instead, we are all middle class people just trying to get ahead.