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What it takes to be middle class in each state
Americans are gearing up for the next presidential election, which means we'll be hearing a lot about candidates' plans to boost the middle class. - photo by JJ Feinauer
"Will Hillary Clinton fight hard enough for the middle class?" economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich asked earlier this month in the Christian Science Monitor. Reich served under former President Bill Clinton.

But Reich isn't alone in his interest toward Hillary's middle-class policies. There are others who fear focusing too much on the most popular political demographic could be bad for the country, and Clinton's campaign.

"Thanks to the economic volatility of the last several years, and thanks to the fact that many of those who imagine themselves to be part of the middle class have been disproportionately impacted by the recession compared to their ostensibly middle class compatriots," The New Republic's Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig wrote shortly after Clinton's candidacy announcement. "A sense of belonging in the middle class no longer correlates with the socioeconomic stability of a spot in the middle."

The shrinking of the middle class has been a major element of concern during the recession and the recovery and Clinton isn't the only politician to argue that the middle will see a resurgence if the candidate is elected.

"With the jobless rate at 5.5 percent, the 18 Republican White House hopefuls who gathered this weekend in the key early primary state of New Hampshire faced the challenge of arguing the country needs new economic stewardship even as the worst of the downtown has passed," Reuters' James Oliphant and Andy Sullivan wrote Sunday.

That strategy seems to be a focus on lessening "middle class uncertainty."

According to a report from the Pew Charitable Trust last month, the middle class (defined as "those making between 67 percent and 200 percent of the states median income") has shrunk in each of the 50 states since 2000.

Here, we've compiled a list, using data from the Pew Charitable Trust and Business Insider, that shows how much it takes in each state to be considered part of every politician's favorite income bracket: The middle class.
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