A relatively financially stable class that generally works white collar jobs.
Class is defined by 4 things: Wealth (How much land/stocks/stuff you have. The top 1% of this country owns 80% of US wealth, leaving probably 15 - 20%to the middle class.), Income (Salary/wage of generally $60,000 - 150,000 or so, possibly more per year), Education (Generally middle class people have at least some college education), and Prestige (How respectable your job is, so that is why a plumber can be paid more than a IT person, but is considered working class).
Most people think the middle class is the class they are in. They think this because they know someone who has more money than they do, and someone who has less. Really, the middle class only makes up about 30% of the US population. A MUCH larger silent working class exists. The poverty line is a false indicator of middle class, as it is unsustainable and really the definition of "emergency poverty." Another words, financially, nutritionally, health-wise, families cannot make it when consistently within 200% of the poverty line without help.
The middle class is actually also a bit of a myth created by school and the media. It is seen as the ideal when in fact, in truth, it is out of the generosity of the working class (basically being underpaid to do all the grunt work that someone has to do) that keep the gears of this country well-oiled.
Sorry to break your bubble!
Most movies out there show Middle class as ideal if they talk about school. "Middle class values" = Hard work, perseverance, education.
Unfortunately the closest thing to a meritocracy that the United States provides. (meritocracy = success based on merit)
School was primarily set up to keep kids busy while parents work. The fact that it goes for so long is probably the result of our society going through industrialization. It also is used to teach children what is expected of them in this society: a.k.a. glorifying the middle class (even though only 30% of us are actually IN the middle class!)
It is the No. 1 thing correlated to a bigger paycheck - the higher you get in it, the bigger your earnings later in life.
The value of the school attended: The "H-bomb" on resumes is to be a graduate from Harvard.