The formula to being middle-class in America:
(1) graduate from high school;
(2) don't have children until after you get married;
(3) don't do anything that will land you in jail;
(4) don't acquire a drug habit; and
(5) have a decent work ethic. Americans who are chronically poor typically flunk three or more of these indicators.
With crisis like levels of black-on-black killings in Urban America, USA, another key should be added:
Avoid gun violence.