wealth inequality

A woman on a shopping spree.

One of the interesting quirks about wealth and class in America is that many people have a hard time determining their socioeconomic status accurately. A poll published by Business Insider found that some Americans earning less than $50,000 feel rich, while others earning more than $100,000 feel poor. Nearly half of Americans earning $100,000 or more identify as middle class.

The same poll found that only 13% of millionaires believe they are wealthy and 60% define themselves as middle class.

A TikTokker named Geneviève explained how this disconnect could happen by using her girlfriend as an example. Geneviève grew up in a low-income family and her girlfriend was raised by affluent parents, with a live-in nanny and a maid. However, the girlfriend always thought she was middle class.

Interestingly, she tells the story in a very non-judgmental way. She simply wants to understand why people’s perceptions of wealth can be so skewed.

“Here are some culture shocks that I had as someone who grew up poor who’s now living with someone who grew up with money,” Geneviève said. “Firstly, is the fact that rich people don’t consider themselves rich because they surround themselves with people who are much richer than them.”


do y'all have any rich people experiences? i'm curious✨ #richvspoor #cultureshock #grwm #relatable

“It’s amazing that she was able to live this life, but it made me realize that everything is relative. Because although per my standard that qualifies as rich, she was by far not the richest person at her school, in her neighborhood, in her group of friends,” Geneviève said.

“So to her, she was actually middle class because she had never really come into contact with people who were properly poor, or even properly middle class,” she continued. “She had only ever really been exposed to people within her own community who were well-off until she went to college.”

Geneviève’s story is an interesting lesson on how we see ourselves and that, in the end, there’s always going to be someone richer than you and always someone who has less. The key is that if you’re genuinely grateful for what you have, you can feel like a king, regardless of what’s in your bank account. But if you’re rich and ungrateful, you’ll never have enough.