Homes in San Marcos, California, are pictured.
Mike Blake/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

Is $100,000 “average”? Though a majority of Americans now identify as "middle class"—the highest proportion since 2003—there's growing debate over what exactly that phrase means today. While a $59,000 annual income falls smack dab in the middle in countrywide stats, in some places, like D.C. and Newton, Massachusetts, the average income is closer to $100,000. The Washington Post analyzes the numbers:

America’s middle-class ranges from $35,000 to $122,500 in annual income, according to The Post’s calculation. (The data is in 2016 dollars before taxes. You can see in the chart below how much the range varies by household size). Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of research at Pew, calls it a “fair” estimate. He helped craft Pew's definition.

The bottom line is: $100,000 is on the middle-class spectrum, but barely: 75 percent of U.S. households make less than that.

Power struggles: The tiny Montana firm that’s received national scrutiny as the suspicious winner of a $300 million contract to restore power to Puerto Rico responded testily to criticisms from the mayor of San Juan, who called the contract “alarming” and is calling for a “clear, transparent” process. (New York Times, Los Angeles Times)

Drone experiments: A new federal program will allow cities and states to partner with tech giants like Amazon and Google to accelerate drone tests across the U.S. (Recode)

No vaping: A growing number of U.S. cities and states—including New York, as of next month—are moving to treat e-cigarettes like normal cigarettes by banning their use in public places. (Ars Technica)

LGBTQ-friendly cities: While more than 30 U.S. states have created new anti-LGBTQ legislation this year, cities are trending more toward inclusivity across states red and blue, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The org’s Municipal Equality Index, rating equity through policies and services, saw 68 cities receive “perfect scores,” with California leading the pack. (Route Fifty)

When cities wanted to ban Halloween: During the Great Depression, the “malicious violence and looting” associated with Halloween—a tradition that Irish and Scottish immigrants originally brought to the U.S. in the 1800s—had become so contentious that several cities considered prohibiting it. (The History Channel)

The urban lens:

Share your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Perspective

    The Fight to Integrate New York City’s Specialized Schools Is Misguided

    It affirms a supremacist mentality. I thought we were done propping that up.

  2. An Uber pick-up location in downtown Houston in 2017.
    Transportation

    Is Uber the Enemy or Ally of Public Transit?

    Depends on the city, and the transit agency.

  3. Transportation

    Beverly Hills Has Financed Its Metro Fight With $13 Million In Local Taxes

    Instead of reconstructing aging school facilities, the district is using a voter-backed ballot measure to pay for a legal campaign against a subway extension.

  4. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.

  5. A crane in front of a destroyed house.
    Perspective

    On Long Island, Failure to Absorb Sandy’s Lessons

    Six years after Sandy hit New York killing 43 people and destroying numerous homes, waterfront development in the region continues with scant attention to cohesive storm-mitigation strategy.