Shocked but not surprised
Posted in the St. Louis Forum
Saint Louis, MO
#1 Jul 24, 2013
middle-class Americans are fewer, poorer,[and] gloomier after enduring a lost decade of stagnant incomes, shrinking wealth and greater financial stress and uncertainty.
And though some top-line economic indicators unemployment, housing prices, the stock market have improved since that time, Americans in general arent feeling much better about the economy.
For starters, fewer Americans described themselves as middle class in 2012 than four years earlier: 49%, compared with 53% in 2008. And the share describing themselves as lower or lower-middle class rose over that time, from 25% to 32%.
Within self-described members of the middle class, the overwhelming sense that maintaining a middle-class lifestyle is harder today than a decade ago cuts across age, gender, partisan, educational and racial/ethnic divides.(Though whites and people ages 50 to 64 were even more pessimistic than other subgroups, last years Pew Research report found.)
However, the middle-class respondents were somewhat more sanguine about their personal situations. About equal percentages said they were more financially secure now than 10 year earlier (44%) as said they were less secure (42%); blacks and younger adults were most likely to say they had made progress over the past decade.
Similarly, middle-class blacks, Hispanics and under-50 adults were most likely to say they were better off financially than before the recession. But only 28% of whites said they were better off, versus 45% who said they were worse off. Among people 65 and older, just 13% said they were better off, compared with 46% who said they were worse off.
The middle-class survey showed an interesting partisan divide in self-assessment, with Republicans and independents saying they were recovering more slowly than Democrats. About half (51%) of all middle-class Republicans and 46% of independents said they had yet to fully make up their recession-era losses, compared with only about a third (35%) of Democrats.
And whos responsible for the difficulties of the middle class? While Congress gets the most votes, with 62% assigning it a lot of the blame, the Pew Research report found plenty of blame to go around. The one exception: Middle-class people themselves, with just 8% assigning their own socioeconomic group a lot of blame, and 47% saying they werent to blame at all.
Saint Louis, MO
#2 Aug 7, 2013
Seems like deja vu all over again.
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