America Is Now Minority Middle-Class
It’s not simply a political talking point: the middle class is shrinking. In fact, “middle class” Americans are officially a minority for the first time in ages, according to NPR’s read of the data.
A just-released analysis of government data shows that as of 2015, middle-income households have become the minority. The trend is so firmly established that it may well continue; Americans have experienced “a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point,” Pew researchers concluded Wednesday.
Thanks to factory closings and other economic factors, the country now has 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, the study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.
This is news, and, for most of us, not good news. In 1971, almost 61% of American adults counted as middle-income, 25% were low-income, and 14% were high-income, according to Pew’s definitions. In 2015, it’s 49.9% middle-income, 29% low-income, and 21% high-income.
We’re more stratified as a country now than at any time in recent decades. Like a layer cake made with curdled chocolate.
Here are Pew’s definition of terms, since “What does middle-class / middle-income even mean?” is a very real question.
For a household with three people, being middle class means making between about $42,000 and $126,000. If your family of three makes less than $42,000, then you are in the lower class. If your family brings in more than $126,000, you are in the upper class.
Is there any way to make America “great” again? Maybe, sure! It would involve unionization, high taxes, and big government.