US Census numbers are helping define what exactly it means to be "Middle Class."  That's always been a term to describe families who aren't rich but aren't poor, but the amount of money a family has to earn to keep that description is changing.

In Texas, we've got to take home $49,195 in order to be considered middle class.  That's take home pay, not a gross salary.

The Census data shows the highest average household income across the U.S. was in Maryland at $67,469. Mississippi had the lowest at $39,078.  That's a huge difference - workers in Maryland earn an average of $28,391 more than workers in Mississippi.

The varied income makes it hard for politicians to tailor policies for the middle class.  It's hard to say if a person who earns $28K more than another needs the same government policies and programs.  And doesn't lifestyle have something to do with it?  A good friend of mine earns nearly a million dollars per year, yet she associates primarily with members of the middle class, and avoids fancy clothes and fancy shoes.  She may be able to afford upper class luxuries, but she lives with a middle class mentality.

Wanna know how you compare to the rest of the country in terms of your income?  The median household income across the nation was $50,054 in 2011.

Now back to work.