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Poll: What Does It Take To Be Rich?

The Pew Research Center is out with results from another fascinating poll, this one on what it means to be wealthy in the United States.

There are many interesting nuggets in the report “Yes, the Rich Are Different,” but I’ll focus on one area: what kind of salary makes you wealthy.

We want to hear from you, too, so be sure to take our poll at the end of this post on how big of an income you need to be rich.

Keep in mind, the median household income was $49,445 in 2010, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Pew survey asked respondents to estimate how much a family of four would need in annual income to be considered rich. The median answer was $150,000.

From the report: “Some 39% say they would need between $100,000 and $249,999, and 30% say it would take $250,000 or more. … The public estimates a family of four would need about half as much income ($70,000) to lead a middle-class lifestyle in their area.”

Of course, where the respondents lived played a factor. The median response for people living in the Northeast was $200,000, compared with Midwest residents, who said $150,000 would be enough to be wealthy.

Sure, a $150,000 salary would make lots of people feel comfortable about their finances. But would it make you rich?

After all, that kind of income is still a long way from being a member of the 1%.

If you earned $150,000, you’d be in the top 11% of wage earners in the country, according to an income comparison calculator I found on the Wall Street Journal website.

So, what do you think it takes to be wealthy?




What annual income would a family of four need to be considered rich?
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You can read the full Pew report here.

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