In many ways, the middle class represents the American dream: a good job, a safe home, a nice car and a healthy retirement are just a few things that come to mind. However, according to the United Way Alice Project, the American society is slowly shifting towards a new growing economic class – ALICE (acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). People in the ALICE demographic earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the basic cost of living in their area. Combined with those living in poverty, almost a third of Americans (100 million people) are struggling financially.

What is Considered Middle Class?

According to Pew Research Center, about half (52%) of Americans lived in the middle-class household as defined by the household income. However, to be called the middle class, a person needs to have more than a certain income. According to Brookings, a middle-class individual must have the right mix of economic resources (cash in the bank), credentials (educational achievement and occupational status) and cultural values (attitudes, behavior and mindset). Unfortunately, attaining the middle class status can be extremely difficult for someone who was born into poverty.

The Path to the Middle Class

The path to the middle class involves following an easy to explain (but less-easy-to-do) plan. For millions struggling financially, joining the middle class may seem unattainable. However, while the quest to the middle class can be a long and difficult road, it can be done with the proper education and determination.

To help out, we put together an infographic that lays out the path to the middle class for everyone who’s willing to embark on the journey to joining the American middle class.

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