Poll: Americans Need $150K Income to Feel Rich

Dec 9, 2011 1:23pm

How much do you need to consider yourself “rich?” Americans say they would need an annual income of $150,000, according to a Gallup poll this week.

Gallup asked, “Just thinking about your own situation, how much money per year would you need to make in order to consider yourself rich?”

The median income figure of the telephone responses was $150,000. However, 30 percent said less than $100,000 would be enough. Only four percent said earning $1 million or more would make them feel rich.

Americans’ perceptions of the income needed to be rich were a bit higher than in 2003, when Gallup last asked the question. Eight years ago, $120,000 was the median Americans said they would need.

In a separate question asking how much in net worth, or savings in cash, stocks, real estate and other investments, they would need to consider themselves rich, the median figure was $1 million, the same as in Gallup’s 2003 poll on the same issue.

Gallup published the survey amid discussion over tax cuts and Occupy Wall Street’s criticism of the richest one percent of Americans.  Gallup said the results suggest Americans would need “quite a bit less” than what the wealthiest “1%” of Americans earn to consider themselves rich.

The survey showed a noticeable difference in answers by respondents’ gender, age, education and of course, income.

Men had a higher median threshold to consider themselves rich, $150,000, than women — $100,000.

Younger respondents age 18 to 49 years had a median of $160,000 while those 50 and older chose $100,000.

The median that college graduates wanted was twice that of those who did not graduate from college: $200,000 vs. $100,000.

The same was true for those who have higher incomes. Those currently with $50,000 or more in annual household income desired a median of $200,000 to consider themselves rich. Those currently earning $50,000 or less said getting $100,000 would make them feel rich.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the income people desire appears to increase for those who are earning more. Those earning $75,000 or more say they need a median of $250,000 to feel rich.

The median annual household income in the country is around $50,000 per year, according to the Census Bureau.

Gallup surveyed 1,012 adults who were 18 years or older from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

 

Incomes Needed for Survey Respondents to Feel Rich

Less than $60,000:  18 percent

$60,000 to $99,999:  12 percent

$100,000 to $150,000:  23 percent

$150,001 to $299,999:  18 percent

$300,000 to $999,999:  14 percent

$1 million:  11 percent

More than $1 million: 4 percent

 

Median: $150,000

 

 

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