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It is becoming more and more difficult to be part of the middle class

It is becoming more and more difficult to be part of the middle class

Young families feel mixed feelings of bitterness and injustice in the face of the increasing difficulty of reaching the middle class, while they now need to earn about $100,000 a year to do so.

“No, no, no, we're not winning this…” breathes Elliott Laforce-Foyer, a young father from Limoelo, as he looks toward his young daughter, Hilda. “It's not inaccessible, but I don't think we'll get there anytime soon.”

According to calculations by the Quebec Observatory on Inequality (OQI), a family in Quebec must have an annual income of at least $103,900, after taxes and transfers, to officially be part of the middle class. In Montreal, the minimum is slightly lower, at $94,700.

“These numbers correspond to 75% of the median income in these two cities,” explains Geoffrey Boucher, an economist at OQI. It is important to consider household income rather than individual income, because people who live together tend to share their resources.

Adding these sums together is certainly not an impossible task, but the vagaries of life can easily make you miss the mark, says the young Limolo family, whose income is about $90,000 a year.

“Elliot gets a good salary, but I earn a little less, because I have work restrictions,” explains Marie-Michelle Cornu, Mr. Laforce Foer's wife, stressing that government benefits for families help greatly in their situation.

Sacrifices

Not being “officially” part of the middle class is more than just a way of talking, and we have to acknowledge that cutting down $10,000 a year impacts daily life.

“Our condition is not bad,” says the man who works in catering. “But it comes at the cost of an unusual work schedule, many evenings and weekends. We look for sales at the grocery store, we don't plan to travel, and then we buy a house with our income, and forget about it.”

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Even while making all these sacrifices, Elliot and Marie-Michelle struggle to put money aside. “It's a bit frustrating. I earn twice as much as my parents did their whole life, but all my salary goes to rent [1625$ par mois] “And the grocery store,” Elliott says.

They're not alone in this situation, as less than a third of Quebecers (27%) manage to put money aside each month, according to an H&R Block poll published earlier this month.

Indifferent to her parents' words, little Hilda enjoys standing on her legs and allowing herself to fall onto her mother's knees. “She's not walking yet,” laughs Elliot, who is immediately rebuked by his girlfriend. “Give her time, she'll be able to do it.”

Here is what'You have to earn to be in the middle class, depending on the type of family

Note: Thresholds were set based on the latest OECD definition, i.e. a 75% to 200% interval around average household income after taxes and transfers.

Source: Calculations from the Quebec Inequality Observatory Table 11-10-0190-01 Taken from Statistics Canada's 2021 Canadian Income Survey. Thresholds have been adjusted to account for inflation. It is offered in $2,024.

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