Americans say average family needs $85,000 to get by: Gallup

A new poll found that Americans believe the average family needs to make a minimum of $85,000 annually to get by, a major increase from just a decade ago.

The Gallup poll shows about a 46 percent increase in the perceived average income a family of four needs compared to 2013, when Americans put the figure at $58,000 annually.

“The rise in perceived necessary income to support a family of four highlights the economic pressure facing American households as high inflation stretches into a second year,” the poll results read.

About 31 percent of respondents said the minimum annual income a family of four needs to make is between $50,000 to $75,000 per year, while 30 percent of respondents said the family’s annual income should be at least $100,000. Those saying a family of four needed an income of at least $100,000 tripled from 2013, when only 10 percent selected that bracket.

In 2013, 7 percent of respondents said a family of four could get by on an income of $30,000 or less, while in 2023, about 3 percent said the same thing.

The current United States federal poverty level for a family of four is an annual income of $30,000 or less in 2023, which is used as an indicator of eligibility for certain federal programs and benefits.

The survey also determined Americans with higher incomes were more likely to believe a family needs a larger annual income. Nearly half of those who already make more than $100,000 also believed a family of four needs at least $100,000 to get by.

A quarter of those who are labeled as middle income — making between $40,000 and $100,000 — believe a family of four needs to make a minimum of $100,000. Only 16 percent of those who are low income, who make an annual income of less than $40,000, believed a family of four needs to make $100,000.

Americans’ perceptions of a minimum income needed also varied by region. The poll found those living in the East believed, on average, that a family of four needs a $98,340 income, while the average perception from those living in the Midwest was $75,740.

The Gallup poll was conducted April 3-25 among 1,013 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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