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You Need a 6 Figure Salary to Be Considered Middle Class in This U.S. City Middle-class status is the hardest to attain in tech cities like San Francisco and Seattle.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

pankajd7 / 500px | Getty Images
Fremont, California.

Over the past 50 years, the population of Americans living in middle-class households decreased by over 10%, according to Pew Research Center, and as the gap between rich and poor grows wider, some American cities are more difficult to attain middle-class status than others.

A study by SmartAsset calculated the lower and upper bounds of what it takes to be middle-class in 100 American cities across all 50 states and found that one area particularly dominated the rankings: Five of the top 10 cities with the highest middle-class ceilings were tech cities.

The city with the highest threshold to be considered middle-class was Fremont, CA, with a lower limit of $104,499 and upper-bound of $311,936. Fremont was also the only city in the U.S. with a six-figure salary as the lower limit to be considered middle-class and is nearly $20,000 ahead of its successor, San Jose, which has a lower bound of $84,673 an upper bound of $252,754 for middle-class status.

Other tech cities that dominated the rankings were San Francisco at No. 4, Seattle at No. 5, and Irvine at No. 6.

Related: If You Want to Break Out of the Middle Class, Avoid These Money Habits

The high ceiling for middle-class status in tech cities could largely be attributed to the high-paying tech jobs. In Fremont, for example, nearly one-tenth of the population works for Tesla.

Furthermore, the foundation of the local economy contributed to nearly all of the cities being among the ranks for highest middle-class ceilings. Arlington, VA came in at No. 3 and is home to a wide range of federal government workers due to its proximity to Washington D.C.

Other places like Piano, TX (No. 9) and Chandler, AZ (No. 10) are supported by a strong presence of big-name banks such as JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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