As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future.

Oct. 22, 2012

More Americans Worry about Financing Retirement

Despite a slowly improving economy and a three-year-old stock market rebound, Americans today are more worried about their retirement finances than they were at the end of the Great Recession in 2009, according to a nationally representative survey of 2,508 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center. About four-in-ten adults (38%) say they are “not […]

Sep. 12, 2012

A Recovery No Better than the Recession

The median income of American households decreased by as much in the two years after the official end of the Great Recession as it did during the recession itself. The latest estimates from the Census Bureau show that the median income for U.S. households in 2011 was $50,054.1 In 2009, the year the Great Recession […]

Sep. 10, 2012

A Third of Americans Now Say They Are in the Lower Classes

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the lower-middle or lower class has risen from a quarter of the adult population to about a third in the past four years, according to a national survey of 2,508 adults by the Pew Research Center. Not only has the lower class grown, but its demographic […]

Aug. 31, 2012

Public Says a Secure Job Is the Ticket to the Middle Class

Americans believe that having a secure job is by far the most important requirement for being in the middle class, easily trumping homeownership and a college education, according to a new nationwide Pew Research Center survey of 2,508 adults. Nearly nine-in-ten adults (86%) say a person needs a secure job to be considered part of […]

Aug. 27, 2012

Yes, the Rich Are Different

As Republicans gather for their national convention in Tampa to nominate a presidential candidate known, in part, as a wealthy businessman, a new nationwide Pew Research Center survey finds that many Americans believe the rich are different than other people. They are viewed as more intelligent and more hardworking but also greedier and less honest. […]

Aug. 22, 2012

The Lost Decade of the Middle Class

Chapter 1: Overview As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith […]