According to a study, the collective number of low and high-income individuals in America has surpassed that of the middle class.
A Pew Research Center report notes that, as of early 2015, there were 120.8 million adults in middle class households and 121.3 million collectively in lower and upper-income households. It is the first time such a shift has been witnessed. The study further reveals that the “share of American adults living in middle-income households has fallen from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2015. The share living in the upper-income tier rose from 14% to 21% over the same period. Meanwhile, the share in the lower-income tier increased from 25% to 29%.”
As reported by Breitbart News, some of the other findings of the study show that “married adults (both with and without children at home) are more likely than unmarried adults to live in upper-income households and less likely to be in lower-income households.” Whites and Asians “are more likely than black and Hispanic adults to be in the upper-income tier, and they are less likely to be in the lower-income tier.” It also said that “over the longer term, black adults sustained the largest increase in income status from 1971 to 2015 and were the only major racial or ethnic group to experience a decline in their lower-income share.”
“The rising share of immigrants in the Hispanic adult population,” the study said, is why “Hispanic adults have slipped down the income ladder since 1971, driven by an increase from 34% to 43% in their lower-income share.” Another finding states that “in terms of differences by nativity, foreign-born adults are more likely than U.S.-born adults to be lower income (38% to 27% in 2015), and less likely to be upper income (16% to 22%).”
The middle class income is defined by the study as those adults who are earning two-thirds to double the national median. For a household with three people, this median is somewhere around $42,000 to $126,000 a year. The number of high-income individuals in the country has jumped up by 7 percent. On the other hand, the growth of low-income individuals was recorded as 4 percent. These factors are largely responsible for the decline of the middle class. “In at least one sense, the shift represents economic progress,” the study says.
The income gap has been a subject of consideration for presidential contenders. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has said that income inequality will be a key point of focus in his bid for the Democratic nomination, as reported by the Huffington Post.