Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier – The Lost Decade of the Middle Class
As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some of its characteristic faith in the future, according to a new nationwide survey of middle-class adults and an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve data.
- 85% of Americans who describe themselves as middle class say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living.
- For the middle-income group, the “lost decade” of the 2000s has been even worse for wealth loss than for income loss, as median wealth declined by 28%.
- The middle-income tier included 51% of all adults in 2011, down from 61% in 1971. According to 2010 data, only the upper tier has increased its share of America’s total household income, while the middle class took in 45%, down from 62%.
- Neither Obama nor Romney has closed the deal with the beleaguered middle class.
- 62% say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress, more than with banks and financial institutions, large corporations, the Bush administration, the Obama administration, foreign competition or the middle class itself.
The report examines trends in middle-class income and wealth and attitudes of middle-class individuals, including how they define the middle class, how they view the future, which presidential candidate they view as best for the middle class and much more. Read more at http://www.pewsocialtrends.com/middle-class/