Lifestyles, income, and economic quintiles.

So, I want to take a moment to talk about money and the common man.

In the UCAS, the Minimum Wage is around 2 Nuyen an hour, with full time workers in the corporate rat race putting in 72 hour work weeks (That's 6 12 hour days, running 7 AM to 7 AM, staggered a bit to help with traffic to have an 8-8 and 9-9 shift) … and there's no overtime pay, of course. People outside of the corporate ladder work less hours, but are often hurting due to it. Part time work is going to struggle to pay the bills, after all.

Which leads to quintiles.

The population is split into 5 general levels (7 actual ones) for economic purposes, akin to modern economic strata. This means that 20% of the population falls into each bracket, which is roughly akin to the levels of Lifestyle as follows:

20% of the population brings in less than 10,000 Nuyen a year. These are primarily part-time workers as full-time work can get you over the hump … the gal at the register of McHugh's that's trying to earn a few bucks while going to college, for instance, or the guy selling cheap commlinks on commission at the mall, and so on. These are the poverty stricken and includes both the Squatters, who are ctually paying rent (most of the time) and getting food but whose life is pretty awful and full of used and hand-me-down stuff, and the Streets. Most of these people have a SIN, if only a criminal SIN (Good luck getting a good job with that over your head!) but this level of society has a lot of cash-based commerce as few have a bank account and most handle life through a lot of barter and favor-trading.

20% of the population bring in between 10,000 and 30,000 a year, making up the Working Class. These are people who are in the middle of the range in the service industry (a shift manager at McHugh's, for instance), the very edges of white collar (data entry or working the phones at a call center), or average people doing average jobs, such as labor in retail, light industrial work, and so on. Notably, this includes the vast majority of police officers, soldiers, and security guards, roughly 80% of each, and is fairly typical of where most Shadowrunners fall. This is the real meat of the economy, not the middle class, but those who are fighting to get there some day. This is the lowest level that you'll find Deckers and similar technical experts and the worst of mages.

20% of the population make between 30,000 and 75,000 a year, more on the lower end than the higher, and reflect the true Middle Class. This level is, in many ways, the UCAS dream, with a house, a spouse, a kid, a pet, a drone to make life easier, and a car or two. This is where the store manager at a McHugh's comes in, or the mid-range mangement anywhere else, falls, as well as almost every corporate managerial type. The office drones are stuck at Low, but once you start getting your name on a desk, you're in the Middle. This level is where you see debt often spiralling out of control as people strive for that UCAS dream but fall short (You need 60K a year to get it!) so wind up taking out loans, or suffering physical decay as they put in even more work every day. Addiction to amphetimines (corporate-approved and supplied, of course!) is incredibly common, and as a result, you see a lot of burnout from people who can't handle the pressure. This requires a constnt pipeline from below, promoting office drudges into managerial roles for a few years, then spitting out the bones and grabbing another. Quality Shadowrunners can stretch to this level with effort, and it's filled with typical wage mages and veteran Deckers as well. (This is where most elite security teams are as well, including military spec ops or officers in line units.)

20% of the population brings in from 75,000 to 150,000 a year, a High lifestyle reserved for the best rungs of society that you'll typically meet. True white collar types, such as successful lawyers who are being considered for partner status, stock traders, bankers, doctors, and so on. This is the big league and as high as most people will ever reach (and most never reach it) … but you'll know someone in it, if only because you have a doctor that you go to or you've been in front of a judge. It's rarified air, and if you don't have regular access to a helicopter or, at worst, a luxury car, you're not fit to breathe it.

20% of the population fills the top, making 150,000 and up up UP. This is the Luxury level, filled with CEOs of not-yet A-rated corps, vice-presidents of A-rated, and regional directors of AA+ corps. Professional sports stars, the biggest name actors, the president of the UCAS, and similar glitteratti decorate this level, with the service classes (sports and acting) having some mobility from lower levels, but the rest being effectively walled off. If you aren't born this wealthy, you never will be. They rule it all.

There are, as noted, two other levels.

0% The SINless aren't counted. If they were, it'd effect the average and we can't have that! Makes economic prognosticators look bad. SINless aren't counted in this, which means that the bottom 20% is actually larger (much larger in some areas!) than advertised.

The top 1% are the Ultra Lux, the ones who look at the average rich and try not to giggle. The difference between the Lux and the Ultra Lux can be summed up thusly: The best player on your favorite basketball team is Lux; the old guy who signs his paychecks is UltraLux. These are Megacorporate CEOs, the top box office draws, the quarterbacks of NFL teams, and so on. They are the wealthy of the wealthy and can literally get away with murder by dropping enough money into the right hands. And they know all the right hands.


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