Are you a middle-income earner? 

Do you consider yourself middle class? 

What the heck even classifies as middle class anymore? 

As humans, we tend to define ourselves and create niches where we feel we belong. And how much money we earn is absolutely one of the factors we look to when trying to figure out where we fit in. The problem? The definitions of lower, middle and upper class vary…a lot. It depends on where you live, who your parents are, and the work you do.

How do I define middle-income?

The median household income in Canada was $70,336 in 2015. Median means middle so $70k is the qualifying standard for being middle class, right?

Not so fast.

Instead of income, let’s think of what characteristics we think of when we describe a middle-class lifestyle. For me, that would include a decent home in a decent neighbourhood, at least one reliable vehicle, and enough income to not worry about paying your bills and have enough leftover to splurge now and again.

Now think of location. The income a household needs to bring in to fit that middle-class lifestyle is going to vary drastically depending on where you live. Someone living in a small rural town does not have the same cost of living as someone living in downtown Toronto.

Middle-class is less about how much you earn and more about how much disposable income you have after paying for the necessities. 

Am I Middle-Class?

Yes. Our combined household income is in the low six figures, and we live in a relatively high cost of living city. It’s no Toronto or Vancouver, but Edmonton has seen a significant rise in real estate prices over the past decade, and it’s not a cheap place to live. As you guys know, we recently bought a new place, and the price tag for that was in the $500s. That’s a lot of money to have tied up in mortgage payments each month!

Owning a home isn’t a pre-requisite for being middle-class though. If we were renting, we’d be in almost the same situation. To maintain a similar lifestyle (i.e. find a rental space that would allow all our animals), our rent wouldn’t be that much less than our mortgage payment.

Unite The Middletons

There’s a reason I’m bringing you this bonus Monday post, and that’s because there’s a brand new website launching today that I’m excited to share with you.

What does it mean to be a Middleton?

The Middletons will bring you curated personal finance articles that will be relatable to middle-income earners.

If you’ve ever felt like the personal finance community is dominated with people you can’t relate to, then I urge you to give The Middletons a shot. Or maybe you’re just getting started on your personal finance journeys and want to hear from others in similar situations. The ladies establishing the site are fantastic, and I know they’ve got an amazing team seeking out the best (and most relatable) material. Check back regularly for the newest material, and join the growing community of Middletons!

Image Credit: Joshua Ness


  1. I think I consider myself middle class as well, but my guess is the majority of people would classify someone with a house worth half a million dollars as upper middle class for sure (as long as you aren’t in Vancouver or Toronto).

    500k may be close to the average price of a house in Canada (though my guess is, this is highly inflated by Van & Tor). There are also a lot of people renting as well that can’t afford to own a house. I bought my first house for 121k about 12 years ago. Second house was over 3x that price:(

    I’m going to check out the Middletons now!

    • Sarah Reply

      Hope you like the site Jordan! I agree with you, buying a half million dollar house will seem crazy to a lot of people but here it’s pretty standard.

    • Sarah Reply

      That’s similar to here but is very much tied to oil. It’s such a hard thing to pin down because it varies so much.

  2. Maybe worth clarifying that “The median HOUSEHOLD income in Canada was $70,336 in 2015.” For individuals, the median income is much lower (closer to $36,000).

    • Sarah Reply

      You are right. I thought I had made that clear but reading back over it now I shouldn’t have clarified 🙂

  3. Middle income here in the SF Bay Area is a huge range. I think it starts at $70K and it goes all the way to close to $200K.
    Going to add the Middletons to my rotation of PF articles to read since I’m a middle incomer myself.

    • Sarah Reply

      That is a huge range but from what I know it kind of makes sense for the Bay Area. I hope you find some good stuff on the Middletons 🙂

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