There's no blanket definition for who’s considered rich versus who’s middle-class, but most of us probably make that decision for ourselves by comparing our salaries to the Joneses.
Financial statistics site HowMuch.net just made it easier to figure out where you stand relative to your neighbors. Researchers there crunched some Census Bureau numbers for 50 cities and calculated how much income you’d have to make, on average, to land in the top half of earners.
No surprise here, but Silicon Valley topped the list. To rule the roost in San Jose, California, you’d have to earn at least six figures. Here are the top 10:
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: $110,040
2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California: $96,677
3. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia: $95,843
4. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts: $82,380
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington: $78,612
6. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland: $76,788
7. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota: $73,231
8. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut: $72,559
9. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado: $71,926
10. New York City-Newark-Jersey City, New Jersey: $71,897
At the bottom of the list were the New Orleans and Memphis metro areas, the only cities where you could make just shy of $50,000 and still crack the top 50 percent. You can check out the full list here.
“Researchers say the sweet spot for peak emotional well-being was making somewhere between $60K to $75K.”
But before you start feeling like you're not earning enough, take a cue from a recent study from Purdue University and the University of Virginia. According to their researchers, the sweet spot for peak emotional well-being was making somewhere between $60,000 to $75,000 — and once individuals surpassed $95,000 in income, their happiness levels actually dip back down. So maybe money really can't buy you happiness.