After the final presidential debate last night, there has been a lot of discussion about ‘Joe the Plumber‘ and his take on Obama’s tax plan. To sum it up, he doesn’t like it because it would tax him higher if he were to purchase a business which would earn him more than $250,000 a year. Fair enough, Joe. (Check out the video of Joe’s initial chat with Obama that started it all).

I won’t delve too much into the politics of debating tax plans here, but I am interested to know what everyone’s value of ‘rich people’ is.

Obviously all these discussed values are relative. Coming from a factory worker in rural Indiana, for example, the dream of one day making over $250,000 is more than they could probably fathom. On the other hand, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen in large metro areas are paying close attention to these tax plans to see where they fall.

In a recent issue of U.S. News and World Report, they conducted a rather scientific survey with impressive metrics to determine ‘what it takes to be rich in different areas of the country’. Keeping in mind that the ‘national median’ income for the United States is currently only $48,023/year, the following is an excerpt from that list showing at what average income one would be considered in the top earning 5%:

Atlanta–Couple (no kids), $268,264. Family of four, $536,528.

Colorado Springs, Colo.–Couple, $207,472. Family, $414,943.

Dallas–Couple, $267,344. Family, $534,688.

Honolulu, Hawaii–Couple, $235,190. Family, $470,380.

Kansas City, Kan.–Couple, $219,300. Family, $438,600.

Las Vegas–Couple, $240,359. Family, $480,718.

Los Angeles–Couple, $315,996. Family, $631,992.

New York–Couple, $359,494. Family, $718,989.

San Francisco–Couple, $359,061. Family, $718,123.

Washington, D.C. –Couple, $347,917. Couple, $490,436.

So what’s your opinion? Is perceived ‘wealth’ in your ‘hood far below these numbers? Or is this seriously lowballing it? Shout it out in the comments section.

WSJ Wealth Report: What It Takes To Be Rich Part 2, October 15, 2008