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What do you have to do to be ‘middle class’ in Colorado?

DENVER (KDVR) – Coloradans now have to earn 50% more than they did in 2012 to qualify as “middle class,” according to a new study of U.S. Census Bureau data by GOBankingRates.

In 2012, Colorado residents were considered middle class if they earned between $38,829 and $116,488. Just 10 years later, in 2022, that range was $58,399 to $175,196.


This was the third highest increase in 10 years among states and surpassed the increase experienced in states such as California or New York.

The study took data from the 2012, 2017 and 2022 American Community Surveys conducted by the Census Bureau to find the median household income in each state. Using that figure, GOBankingRates found the middle class range, which is two-thirds to double the median income.

Because the median income in Colorado in 2022 was estimated at $87,598, two-thirds of that income is $58,399, while twice as much is $175,196.

The five biggest increases in 10 years in what is considered “middle class,” according to GOBankingRates:

  1. Oregon – 53.15% increase
  2. Washington – 52.13% increase
  3. Colorado – 50.40% increase
  4. California – 49.68% increase
  5. Idaho – 49.34% increase

The lowest increase in 10 years was seen in Alaska, where the middle class rank increased by 23.53%. However, the range for 2022 was still similar to Colorado, with residents needing to earn between $57,580 and $172,740 to be middle class.

The state with the lowest amount needed to be considered middle class was Mississippi, with the low end being $35,323. On the other hand, Maryland had the highest income needed at $65,641, according to the study.

According to a previous study by another website, SmartAsset, Colorado is one of 17 states where people have to earn more than $50,000 to be considered at the lower end of the “middle class.”