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Are $100K earners upper class? Only 6% of them say yes

Business Insider logo Business Insider 3/5/2015 Pamela Engel
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Very few people in America are willing to identify as upper class, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About 94% of people in that income bracket -- over $100,000 -- identified as middle class, upper middle class, or lower middle class, while only 6% called themselves upper class.

Here are the results of the survey:

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While a family of three with an income of up to $122,000 is still considered "middle income," the over-$100,000 range also includes families with much higher salaries than that.

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And although only 6% of survey respondents identified as upper class, Pew's data shows that 20% of American adults are in the "upper income" bracket.

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The reason so many Americans identify as middle class when almost half of them are actually in a higher income bracket is that "in a self-defined classless society, people will naturally not want to separate themselves from their fellow citizens," according to The Brookings Institution.

Economic inequality continues to grow in America. Pew notes that only families in the upper-income bracket have seen a significant increase in wealth since the early 1990s, while the share of adults living in middle-income households is falling.

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