This is probably the piece of research I’ve conducted at YouGov that I’m the most proud of. Thanks to the perennial interest in the topic combined with good SEO it is also one of the all-time most well-read articles on the YouGov website.
It’s a perfect example of one of those findings that can only be achieved through opinion polling – while economists put their own figure to high and low income based on their relation to the median, this doesn’t reflect how everyday people think about the subject.
It also had the virtue of being very relevant at the time of its creation, with John McDonnell having recently set the “rich” threshold at £70,000-80,000 a year as part of his income tax pledges at the 2017 general election. The results of the survey found that in fact the threshold at which most people think a person has become rich is about £50,000 a year.
The results also demonstrate a finding first articulated by Richard Reeves, former special adviser to Nick Clegg, called the “Me? I’m not rich!” problem. The general idea is that very few people actually consider themselves rich, even among the obviously affluent. The more money a person earns, the higher they set the threshold, perpetually above their own income.
The “Me? I’m not rich!” problem, demonstrated in the results of a version of this study I conducted in the USA.
You can see the full article on the YouGov website: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2017/06/02/how-much-money-do-you-need-earn-year-be-rich