His salary from the nuclear plant was pretty bad, at least by today’s standards: $37,416 (adjusted for inflation). According to Vox’s calculations, that puts the Simpsons on the zip wire of lower and middle class. Of course, they’ve tasted morsels of the upper class high life (when Marge got that pink Chanel suit and when Homer got hair).
Update: In May 2022, NPR’s The Indicator from Planet Money asked whether Homer Simpson is still America’s economic everyman:
For nearly 30 years, Homer Simpson has worked a union job at a nuclear power plant in Springfield, a job he got without a college degree. But on his salary alone, Homer has always been able to support a family of five. He’s also been able to afford a house, health insurance and seemingly endless amounts of Duff beer. When “The Simpsons” first aired way back in 1989, the lifestyle Homer and his family had wasn’t considered anything fancy. In fact, it was pretty normal for the average American middle-class family. But what about now? If the life of the Simpsons sounds unrealistic or even impossible to you for a middle class family in this day and age, you’re not alone.