How Much You Need To Be ‘Middle Class’ on the East Coast of the USA?

I’m using this data to make a point, stand by and read on.

The East Coast of the United States, from where Maine meets Canada south to where Florida meets the Gulf of Mexico, is a collection of diverse states each offering different pros and cons for the people who live there. And their affordability varies widely, too, for those people considered to be middle class. 

You’ll need a lot less money to live a middle-class lifestyle in some of the states than the others. Some have perks such as no state income tax, while others have benefits in terms of job opportunities and top-notch education that some of the states don’t offer.

GOBankingRates set out to find how much money you need to be considered middle class on the East Coast, using the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) definition of “middle class” as making 75% to 200% of a median income. GOBankingRates then determined middle class income range on the West Coast by analyzing median wage data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Income and Poverty report.

The average monthly mortgage payments in each state, plus payments for monthly car, student loan and credit card payments then were calculated and figured in.

Source: How Much You Need To Be ‘Middle Class’ on the East Coast of the US | GOBankingRates

There is some interesting info here. Take a look at these numbers:

  • Delaware $474/$212
  • DC $421/$388
  • Florida $505/$196
  • Georgia $458/$200
  • Maine $453/$216
  • Maryland $462/$216
  • Massachusetts $416/$229
  • New Hampshire $427/$213
  • New Jersey $470/$226
  • New York $475/$233
  • Rhode Island $457/$218
  • North Carolina $432/$199
  • Pennsylvania $417/216

What do you think the numbers represent? I’ll give you a hint, one is ignored and the other has been labeled a life limiting crisis- by progressive politicians that is.

The first amount is the average car payment made by citizens in the given state AND the second number is the … average student loan payment.

Which payment do you think holds a person back, the the car loan/lease – most often a pickup truck unnecessary for transportation or the student loan payment created because of an investment in their future and the promise of higher earnings during ones working life?

Looking at total loan amounts and politicians cry “crisis” over student loans, looking at the reality of monthly payments, not so much.

Each loan was voluntarily incurred, each amount of the loan was known in advance. In the case of the car loan one had to demonstrate the ability to repay.

In the case of student loans … who cares? Nobody even asks how it was to be used.

There may be exceptions, there may be justification to lower or even eliminate student loan interest, but a blanket forgiveness of student loans is irresponsible and unnecessary … and grossly unfair.

How do you forgive all exiting student loans without consideration for the students entering college next year? Are we saying any and all college should be 100% free forever?


  1. Pocahontas seems to get a lot of press for student loan forgiveness. She does this without regard for fairness or future ramifications or the effect it will have on those who didn’t go to college who will bear the tax burden.

    I do think, at most, an interest forgiveness could be done for a limited amount of student loans per person.

    As for the car payments on the chart, I’m surprised they are that low. I’ve been reading of $500-700 monthly payments becoming more common.

    On a side note: I do drive a full size pickup for general transportation and whatever I need to haul in the bed. It was bought new and wasn’t financed. My $400 total student loan was paid in full in 1979.


  2. Or…
    “1 in 4 Americans have student loan debt: An est. 44.7 Million people. Average student loan debt amount = $37,172. Average student loan payment = $393/month.”

    “There may be exceptions, there may be justification to lower or even eliminate student loan interest, but a blanket forgiveness of student loans is irresponsible and unnecessary … and grossly unfair.”

    Totally agree there. We cosigned for a granddaughter ten years ago and the rates seemed ridiculous (they’re paid off now.) And yes, totally unfair to simply pay off all student loans. And yes, may be there should be a “free” option.

    When I attended (early eighties) California had a free system (California State Universities) and a paid public system (University of California) UC San Francisco had a better “reputation” than my school, San Francisco State University. For what that’s worth. Or you could pay much more for an elite private university.

    Also, obviously, “average debt” is MUCH higher for doctors, attorneys, than for us BAs.


  3. I look at the data and see nothing but personal choices. The one number that stands out to me is the DC student loan number that is 67% higher than the next highest loan payment amount. This implies to me a lot of people got over educated just to work in government service. I would not be surprised if some of these are interns working for free. Now I am just guessing here but I’ll bet these are the same ones who are working on congressional staff with the ear of the congressman making them believe that student loan forgiveness is a great idea and it will not have an impact on future student lending.


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