I’m upper middle class, insofar as both me and my SO both make over $100K each… BUT, we live in the Washington, D.C. area, where said income doesn’t get you nearly what it could get you in 95% of the rest of the country.
We own a 1400 sq ft. duplex, both drive compact cars 5+ years or older, haven’t taken a real vacation in years, and have a combined $120K in student loan debt (master’s degrees-- thankfully, most of that debt is hers :-).
BUT, I don’t have to count my pennies every day, and our ability to “impulse buy” is fairly significant, e.g. I can cover fairly expensive random expenses in short order when necessary (“Crap, need a new fridge… alright, I’m gonna go buy one” kind of deal).
Also, we have great health care, retirement benefits, all that jazz. To be honest, this recession hasn’t affected either of us at all (but it’s affected friends and family, so we’re VERY aware of how tough times are for many people out there… we gave plenty to charity this season).
Anyway, it’s a cliche, but where you fall on the scale depends upon where you live. On our income, we’d be very upper middle class in most places, or even close to wealthy in podunk towns. But around these parts, we’re very, very far from anything remotely resembling rich… so I’d say middle class and stick with that.
(BTW, my personal definition of the classes-- when you’re poor, you have to worry about everything, when you’re middle class you have to worry about not being poor, when you’re rich you don’t have to worry about anything).