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.
Closing New York City's income gap is at the top of new Mayor Bill de Blasio's agenda.
In his inaugural address, the city's first Democratic mayor in two decades said: "We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love."
But that will be a Herculean lift. A new report from the City University of New York's Graduate Center shows that the MORETami Luhby - Jan 9, 2014 10:05 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
Getting ahead in America has a lot to do with where you live.
Many communities in the United States, particularly the Southeast, have low economic mobility, a new study from researchers at Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley, found. But people living in communities in the northern Plains and Rocky Mountain states are more likely to rise higher.
Take a household in Greenville, Miss. in the 25th income percentile. Their children MORETami Luhby - Jul 24, 2013 6:00 AM ET
The good news: Americans are much more likely to have higher incomes than their parents. But just how much more depends greatly on their race, education and their parents' income level, according to new Pew Economic Mobility Project data.
Some 83% exceed their parents' income by at least $1,000.
Those born rich are more likely to greatly out earn their parents. For instance, 27% of those raised in the highest-income families made MORETami Luhby - Feb 26, 2013 5:01 PM ET
Median weekly earnings in the U.S. for wage and salary workers were $775 at the end of 2012.
But just how much you make depends on a number of factors, including your race and gender,
CNNMoney gives you a snapshot into what Americans earn:
The more schooling you have, the more you get in your paycheck.
And your profession has a big impact:
It's well-known that women make less than men...but the size of the MORETami Luhby - Jan 23, 2013 9:43 AM ET
Average health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage soared 62% between 2003 and 2011, far outpacing the rise in wages, a new study found.
By 2011, there were 35 states in which the annual premium equaled 20% or more of income, according to a study issued Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund. This compares to just one state in 2003.
Premiums in the south and south-central United States were the highest relative to MORETami Luhby - Dec 12, 2012 12:16 PM ET
More and more Americans are living in neighborhoods surrounded by people who earn about as much as them ... whether they are rich or poor.
Segregation by income is growing, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released Wednesday.
Some 28% of low-income households lived in low-income neighborhoods in 2010, up from 23% three decades earlier. And the number of upper-income households living in upper-income neighborhoods doubled to 18% over that period.
Pew MORETami Luhby - Aug 1, 2012 12:01 PM ET
The number of millionaires in the U.S. is moving on up.
There were nearly 268,000 tax filers who reported more than $1 million in adjusted gross income in 2010, according to a Tax Foundation analysis of Internal Revenue Service data.
That's about 31,000 more than the previous year, but is still lower than the boom times. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of millionaires topped 300,000 annually.
The vast majority of millionaire taxpayers MORETami Luhby - Jun 18, 2012 7:53 AM ET
Who makes the big bucks in America?
Middle-aged white couples.
We all know that income is concentrated in the United States, but Sentier Research has crunched the data to show just who has the money.
Take a look at the breakdown by race:
White households have an aggregate income of $6.2 trillion, while Hispanics have an aggregate income of $710 billion and blacks $641 billion. Asians, meanwhile, have $419 billion.
To be sure, there are MORETami Luhby - May 31, 2012 2:00 PM ET
Even though the national economy is on the upswing, many Americans haven't been reaping the benefits.
In fact, the median household income in January was $50,020, or 5.4% lower than it was in June 2009, the beginning of the economic recovery, according to a new estimate from Sentier Research, based on Census data.
This decline in income comes despite improvements in the job market. The unemployment rate stood to 8.3% in January, MORETami Luhby - Mar 6, 2012 12:16 PM ET
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