Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Economy got you blue? You're not alone

It's the economy, stupid! That's what the middle-class yelled loudly in a new Pew Research Center poll. According to the Associated Press, middle-class Americans say they aren’t better off than they were five years ago, reflecting economic pressures amid growing personal debt, the study released Wednesday found. Their short-term assessment of personal progress is the worst it’s been in nearly half a century.

About 53 percent of adults in the country define themselves as “middle class,” with household incomes ranging from below $40,000 to more than $100,000. A majority of all Americans said they haven’t progressed in the last five years. One in four, or 25 percent, said their economic situation had not improved, while 31 percent said they had fallen backward. Those numbers together are the highest since the survey question was first asked in 1964.

Among the middle class, 54 percent said they had made no progress (26 percent) or fallen back (28 percent). Asked about their financial experiences in the past year, 53 percent of middle-class people said they had to cut spending because money was tight. Nearly one in five, or 18 percent, said they had trouble getting or paying for medical care, while 10 percent reported they had been laid off or otherwise lost their jobs. Half of the middle class surveyed said they expected to have to cut more spending.

By contrast, from 1983 to 2004, the median net worth of upper-income families – defined as households with annual incomes above 150 percent of the median – grew by 123 percent. The median net worth of middle-income families rose by just 29 percent. Two-thirds, or 67 percent, of middle-class Americans say their standard of living is better than the one their parents enjoyed at the age they are now. In contrast, 80 percent of richer people said they exceeded their parents’ standard of living. Among the lower class, only 49 percent reported better conditions. For more results from this poll go to:

What about you? Feeling pinched financially? What would you tell the presidential candidates they should do about it?


Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of hearing about the bad economy, foreclosures, etc. My husband and I have never been better off. We're paying off all our bills and have more income than ever. We both have steady jobs and are in no danger of losing them. I think all this has been way overblown.

Anonymous said...

Be thankful that you and your family are doing well. However, just because you are doesn't mean that everyone else is.