Upper Middle & Rich Now 31.2 Percent of All American Households
There has been considerable political discourse in regard to the middle class, and its declining numbers in the makeup of the American economy. But a new report states something very different than our political pundits might like us to believe. Yes, the middle class is shrinking, but only because so many people are moving into the upper middle class and the upper class. The Urban Institute, a liberal think-tank organization, has released their exhaustive study of the American economy and much to their dismay the results were the opposite of what was expected. The study examines the period of time between 1979 through 2014, a period believed full of economic distress for most working families.
The breakdown of the American household income classes in 2014 are as follows:
- The poor and near poor with incomes from $0 to $29,999.
- The lower middle class, with incomes from $30,000 to $49,999.
- The middle class, with incomes from $50,000 to $99,999.
- The upper middle class, with incomes from $100,000 to $349,999.
- The rich, with incomes of at least $350,000.
All of these incomes are for what the study calls a “three-person equivalent family.”
- Middle Class and Lower Middle Class Shrank
The big change is in the middle class. Yes, it shrank. It dropped from 38.8 percent of all households in 1979 to 32 percent in 2014. But the lower middle and the poor or near poor also shrank. Together they fell from 48.2 percent of all households to 36.9 percent, a drop of 11.3 percentage points.
- Upper Middle and Rich Explode in Growth
The big surprise is that the upper middle class and rich more than doubled in size. The rich accounted for only 0.1 percent in 1979 but 1.8 percent in 2014. The upper middle class soared from 12.9 percent in 1979 to 29.4 percent, a gain of 16.5 percentage points. Basically a large percentage of the middle class moved to the upper middle, and the lower middle moved up to the middle class. This class move-up is most pronounced in the Hispanic and other immigrant groups.
- Dallas Morning News, August 7, 2016