A sense of belonging to the middle class occupies a cherished place in America. It conjures images of self-sufficient people with stable jobs and pleasant homes working toward prosperity.
Yet nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are coming to the painful realization that they're no longer part of it.
They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay. Such setbacks have emerged in economic statistics for several years. Now they're affecting how Americans think of themselves.
Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53 percent to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25 percent in February 2008.
According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they're middle or upper-middle class fell 8 points between 2008 and 2012, to 55 percent.
Friday, April 4, 2014
AP: More Americans See Middle Class Status Slipping
This is depressing news. According to a Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who say they were middle- or upper-middle class dropped after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. This provides further evidence that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Has the American Dream become a myth? Decent-paying jobs are disappearing. Educational attainment is also no longer a stable path to upward mobility. Income inequality must become a national priority.