Forget “Middle Class” — $63,000 for a Denver Family to Just Subsist

In 2018, the Bell Policy Center will more deeply analyze how we rebuild a diverse and thriving middle class in Colorado.

In a recent Denver Post op-ed, Bell President Scott Wasserman discusses why we think this is such an important mission for our organization:

A ‘self-sufficient’ life covers costs like rent, utilities, groceries, and basic clothing expensive. It rules out activities like going out for dinner, saving for retirement, paying off credit card debt, or saving for a college education.

Is this what you see in your mind’s eye when you envision the middle class?

Within the range of income we’ve been using to measure the size of our middle class lies a life far different than the one you’re probably envisioning. Unable to vacation, unable to give back, unable to afford college, unable to invest, and unable to shop on main street, these households are just hanging on and most certainly not living the lifestyle we’ve come to associate with middle class America. Clearly, the targets we’re trying to hit are moving.

We can’t ignore our role in controlling costsA government that works for Coloradans should be in aggressive conversations about alleviating the costs bleeding our wallets. 

Read the rest of the op-ed.

If you’re interested in what the Bell aims to do in 2018 and beyond, read and download a copy of our Guide to Economic Mobility. The guide offers an in-depth look at the forces and levers affecting opportunity in Colorado.

This guide is the culmination of intensive research and countless conversations with Coloradans across the state. We heard your concerns about economic mobility and built this guide to spark a conversation about how we can do better. We hope it also puts many of the facts you are looking for in one place.

We look forward to using this guide as a roadmap for our work in the coming months, especially as we head into this year’s legislative session with an eye toward building a thriving middle class in Colorado.

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