Fewer and fewer people are feeling middle class these days.
The share of Americans who describe themselves as middle class has taken a tumble, while the percentage who identify as lower class has soared over the past six years, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center/USA Today. The share of Americans who consider themselves upper class has also shrunk.
This downward shift is likely due to falling wages and the weak job market, said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at the Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project. The survey notes that median household income fell from $55,627 in 2007 to $51,017 in 2012, the most recent Census data available. And employment in middle-skill jobs increased only 46% between 1980 and 2009, compared to 110% for low-skill jobs, according to a New York Federal Reserve Bank analysis.
"Despite the economic recovery, the economic mood continues to head south," Kochhar said.
The share of young folks age 18 to 29 who feel part of the lower class has nearly doubled in the past six years. This age group has been particularly hard hit by the Great Recession and still struggles with unemployment rates higher than the national average. The rate for those age 18 to 29 was 9.5% in December, compared to 6.5% among all adults. (These figures are non-seasonally adjusted.)
College graduates have also seen a downward slide in their perceived social standing. While the share who feel they are in the middle class has stayed roughly the same, the percentage in the upper class shrunk, while the share in the lower class grew. This suggests that the rich felt they slid back into the middle class, and some in the middle felt they slipped down to the lower class.
How is China's government spending taxpayer money?
This is not an easy question to answer. The most populous country in the world ranks among the worst in matters of government transparency.
The Chinese government budget, presented to the public each March as a fait accompli, contains only scattered information about spending priorities and no details about specific programs. It is notoriously difficult to find specific budget information for individual government MORECharles Riley - Jan 15, 2014 4:05 AM ET
The nation may be in better economic shape, but that doesn't mean Americans' paychecks are.
Median annual household income has fallen 4.4% to $52,098 in the four years since the economic recovery began.
Black Americans took the biggest income hit since the Great Recession ended.
Median household income for blacks dropped by more than $4,000 to $33,519. Whites, on the other hand, saw their median income slip just over $2,000 to $58,000.
Married couples MORETami Luhby - Aug 22, 2013 10:42 AM ET
When Suzanne Eva Lain praised Obamacare in a recent CNNMoney article, she never thought it would earn her a ticket to the White House.
But after a member of the Obama administration read that she can't wait for Obamacare to start, officials invited her to attend an event at the White House on Friday at which the president expounded on how the Affordable Care Act has helped women and their families. MORETami Luhby - May 14, 2013 10:42 AM ET
The Labor Department will release its latest update on the U.S. job market Friday morning, and the outlook is neither rosy nor gloom and doom. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are expecting 140,000 jobs were created in April.
While that would be an improvement compared to the meager 88,000 jobs added in March, it's really not much to write home about either. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. economy added an MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - May 2, 2013 2:58 PM ET
Are China's economic statistics accurate?
Pose this question to a group a China watchers and you're likely to receive a variety of responses. Some observers are convinced that China is cooking its books. Others believe state statistics are largely reliable and useful for drawing conclusions about the world's second largest economy. Still others will debate the accuracy of certain data classes, pointing to more meaningful alternatives.
Now we have an opinion from researchers MORECharles Riley - Mar 26, 2013 6:57 AM ET
Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is a big business -- and no, not everything is fair in love and war.
Guys plan to spend an average of $108 on their sweethearts this Valentine's Day, twice what women plan to spend on their significant others. Ladies plan to spend only $53, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Flowers and jewelry tend to push up the average costs MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Feb 14, 2013 9:28 AM ET
As lawmakers bicker over how to spend federal tax dollars, Americans have a few suggestions for them.
According to a recent online survey of 1,000 consumers by TD Ameritrade (AMTD), people clearly want the government to focus even more on health care. Jobs are important as well. And there are some interesting differences between what men would like the government to spend more on and what women view as a priority MORETami Luhby - Feb 12, 2013 9:29 AM ET
Though blacks' job prospects have improved from the depths of the Great Recession, they still suffer from disproportionately high unemployment.
Pegged to Black History Month, the U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee put out a stats sheet highlighting the gap. It takes longer, on average, for black workers for find a job, and even having a college degree doesn't help as much as it does for other job-seeking populations. The black unemployment rate MORETami Luhby - Feb 6, 2013 11:14 AM ET
The fiscal cliff deal contains a wide array of tax provisions that will affect taxpayers. Here's the list of what is -- and isn't -- in the agreement:
Payroll taxes: Wage earners will now pay a 6.2% payroll tax on the first $113,700 in wages since the deal did not extend the 4.2% rate that had been in place for two years. That means workers earning the national average salary of MORETami Luhby - Jan 2, 2013 1:00 PM ET
There are some new lines on the Form 1040 thanks to the fiscal cliff. The IRS has had to set aside space for provisions that Congress hasn't approved yet, leaving those lines as "reserved."
Are you a teacher who spent up to $250 on pencils, books or other classroom supplies? Well, you'll find Line 23 now says "reserved" instead of "educator expenses deduction."
Are you a student looking to deduct up to MORETami Luhby - Dec 28, 2012 1:52 PM ET
The National Intelligence Council -- the same thinkers who produce National Intelligence Estimates -- has released an 140-page report that offers a series of prognostications about how the world might change in coming decades.
The report is full of all kinds of fun concepts, like powered exoskeletons designed to help the elderly, bio-based energy and 3-D printing. You can read the full report here.
But one of the biggest economics themes of the report is the MORECharles Riley - Dec 10, 2012 10:46 PM ET
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