Fremont and San Jose are the two U.S. cities with the highest barriers to entry for those wanting to join the middle class club, according to a new report by New York-based financial tech company SmartAsset.
For the report, SmartAsset researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 1-year American Community Survey to determine the median household income in all 50 states, and the 100 largest U.S. cities. Fremont had the highest minimum threshold to be considered middle class at $104,499, with the highest end of the range capping at around $312,000. In San Jose — which has the second-highest middle class range in the country — residents need to earn between $84,673 and $252,754 to be deemed a middle-income household, according to the report.
For the purposes of this report, a middle class salary range is anywhere from two thirds to double a city’s local median salary.
“The middle class has long been considered the backbone of the American economy. But the American middle class is shrinking,” the report reads. “The percentage of adults living in middle-income households in the United States fell by more than 10 percentage points over the last 50 years, indicating an ongoing shrinkage of the middle class.”
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, San Francisco was listed as the city with the No. 4 highest threshold for middle income earners. Residents of the city need to earn between $81,623 and $243,652 to be considered middle class.
This means that three of the top five cities with the highest incomes required to be middle class are in the Bay Area, according to the report.