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In New York, what is the middle class?
Drive through any community throughout the United States, and you'll find that class distinctions are like the gates surrounding a community, or the grit of another neighborhood. Look at the floor space of a house and the gleaming car on the driveway. It is not difficult to guess the economic situation of the people living there.
Even the landscape is branded with class. From the height of 15,000 feet (about 4572 meters), you can see the orderly open space and the uniform house; you can also gaze directly at you on the dividing line of the American land.
However, Manhattan is different from most places. The city's 1.6 million inhabitants are hiding in the forests of high-rise buildings, and even the elites of the city are on the same subway. That's right, although Manhattan's buildings are also marked with prominent brand names, although the expensive locations here are also expensive, there is no such thing as a “middle class living area” in Manhattan – the kind of house is equipped with Teak cabinets, mother-of-pearl tiles on the wall, and $5.5 million (about 34.24 million yuan) of condominium-style condominiums are located in the same block as a government public housing project. This situation may be in the United States. Only Manhattan has it.
Karen Azeez, who lives in TriBeCa, feels that the house is crowded. She is a finance consultant and has lived in the city for more than 20 years. Her husband is a retired police officer. In the 1997 low house price, he bought the one-bedroom apartment for $200,000 (about RMB 1,243,300).
“When I first came here, I didn’t feel so out of place, and I didn’t have any consciousness of being a middle class,” she said. But in the last five to ten years, a tall building has risen and brought some “extremely rich” neighbors. She said that these people are talking about going to St. Barts in winter (St-Barts, in France). The West Indies, one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean, watched the dog race and also bought their children a $700 Moncler ski jacket.
Even local restaurants have made Aziz feel that he is living a poor life in this community.
“Not McDonald’s, it’s a Mexican restaurant and a Nobu restaurant,” she said, with no intermediate choice.
In a city like New York, everything is top-notch. What kind of talent is a middle class? What is the salary income of the middle class we are discussing? Where is the residence? And the relentless growth of real estate prices will cause the middle class to gradually die out?
“A lot of people are on the strength day,” says Cheryl King, a performance coach who lives and works in an apartment that combines a residential and performance venue. She rented out the performance venue to make screening rooms, shooting rooms and studios to subsidize high rents.
"Too horrible," she added.
What she fears is of course the high cost of living in Manhattan. For decades, such a situation has been shocking settlers in Kansas and elsewhere, and has also threatened the locals with the economic collapse nightmare. Once it happens, it will turn Manhattan into an empty city, leaving only a few large chaebols that can withstand the blow.
However, the middle class is still stubbornly insisting that they will not hesitate to pay for the economic pain in exchange for eating in popular restaurants, in the High Line, and in the heart of the world. Here, the price of necessities – from milk to haircuts, from Lipitor to electricity, especially housing expenses – is the national average. More than twice.
“The main thing is housing – it’s almost distorted compared to other places,” said Frank Braconi, chief economist at the New York City comptroller’s office. "In fact, everything has risen in price, just not to the extent of housing."
In Manhattan, the average rent for apartments is $3,973 per month (about 25,000 yuan), which is about $2,800 (about 17,000 yuan) higher than the national average. According to a recent report by real estate company Douglas Elliman, the average selling price of a Manhattan house last year was $1.46 million (about RMB 0.995 million);
In other parts of the country, the average selling price of a new home is less than $230,000 (about RMB 1.43 million). Compared with other parts of the country, the middle class only accounts for a small portion of the population of New York City; moreover, New Yorkers still live in a place where significant disequilibrium is allocated. Manhattan's household income distribution is similar to Bolivia or Sierra Leone – according to 2010 statistics, the richest one-fifth of Manhattan's income is the lowest in the bottom quintile. 40 times.
If you ask people all over the United States, "Are you a middle class?" The other party is likely to answer yes. But when you ask the same question in Manhattan, people will be confused and not sure what you are referring to.
In this country, there is no uniform and formal definition of the social class. Statisticians and demographers each use a slightly different approach to divide the American society as a whole into five levels and give a median range. To complicate matters, most people feel that they are middle class. After all, it feels good, and it is always more egalitarian than if you claim to be rich or poor. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, the definition of the middle range is for a family of four, with an annual income of $70,000 (about RMB 430,000) belonging to the middle class; People of all income levels, including those with annual incomes of less than $30,000 (about 180,000 yuan) and more than $100,000 (about RMB 620,000), also say that they belong to the middle class.
Without the iconic badge of the middle class, the housing mortgage loan, it is often difficult to say clearly where a person is in the class sequence. So let us consider the definition of "middle class" from five different perspectives.