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Pew Social Trends Lost Decade of the Middle Class

Pew Social Trends Lost Decade of the Middle Class

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Published by: Foreclosure Fraud on Aug 23, 2012
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August 22, 2012
Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier
The Lost Decade of the Middle Class
Social & DemographicTrends
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT
 Pew Social & Demographic TrendsTel (202) 419-43721615 L St., N.W., Suite 700Washington, D.C. 20036www.pewsocialtrends.org
 
 
Copyright © 2012 Pew Research Center www.pewresearch.org
Table of Contents
PAGE
Chapter 1:Overview 1Chapter 2:Middle-Class Demographics 16Chapter 3:Middle-Class Economics 20Chapter 4:Middle-Class Mobility 40Chapter 5:Middle-Class Politics 49Chapter 6:Census Trends for Income and Demography 58Chapter 7:Income and Wealth, by Income Tier 82Appendices1 Demographics of the Adult Population in Lower-, Middle- and Upper-Income Households1012 Methodology for Income and Wealth Analysis 1073 Survey Methodology 1124 Topline Questionnaire 118
 
1
PEW SOCIAL & DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDSwww.pewsocialtrends.org8594More difficultLess difficultAbout the same$91,056$93,1501983 1992 2001 2010$152,950$129,582
CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW
 As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare
their closing arguments to America’s middle
class, they are courting a group that hasendured a lost decade for economic well-being.Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk insize, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some
 but by no means all
 — 
of its characteristic faith in the future.These stark assessments are based onfindings from a new nationally representativePew Research Center survey thatincludes 1,287 adults who describe themselvesas middle class, supplemented by the Center'sanalysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureauand Federal Reserve Board of Governors.Fully 85% of self-described middle-class adultssay it is more difficult now than it was a decadeago for middle-class people to maintain theirstandard of living. Of those who feel this way,
62% say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress,
 while 54% say the same about banks andfinancial institutions, 47% about largecorporations, 44% about the Bushadministration, 39% about foreign competitionand 34% about the Obama administration.Just 8% blame the middle class itself a lot.Their downbeat take on their economicsituation comes at the end of a decade in which, for the first time since the end of World War II, mean family incomes declined for Americans in all income tiers. But the middle-income tier
defined in this Pew Researchanalysis as all adults whose annual householdincome is two-thirds to double the national
A Decade of Decline
Middle-Tier Median Household IncomeFalls
 
 Incomes are scaled to reflect a three-personhousehold (in 2011 dollars)
 
Median Net Worth Plummets
 
in 2011 dollars
 
and the Middle Class Says its Lifestyle isHarder to Maintain
% of middle-class adults
who say it is … for middle
class to maintain standard of living today than 10years ago
 
Notes: Income and wealth trends based on households withhousehold-size adjusted incomes 67% to 200% of thenational median. Attitudes chart based on respondents who
say they are middle class, n=1,287. “About the same” is avolunteered category. “Don’t know/Refused” not shown.
 Source: Pew Research tabulations of the Current PopulationSurvey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 1984-2011, and Survey of Consumer Finances, 1983-2010; PewResearch survey, July 16-26, 2012PEW RESEARCH CENTER
$58,307$72,956$69,4871983 1992 2001 2010

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