One in 3 Falling Out of Middle Class

New study shows downward mobility is rampant
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2011 7:28 AM CDT
Many people are sliding out of the middle class.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Downward mobility is rampant in the US, with a third of Americans who grew up in the middle class falling out of it as adults, according to a new Pew Study (pdf). “A middle-class upbringing does not guarantee the same status over the course of a lifetime,” the report reads. Those who weren’t married, hadn’t gotten a college degree, or used drugs were especially likely to fall down the income ladder, the Washington Post observes.

The report focused on people who were 39-44 years old between 2004 and 2006, meaning it doesn't take into account any post-financial crisis hardships. It defined middle-class as between the 30th and 70th percentile in income distribution. Looking along race and gender lines, researchers found that black men were twice as likely as white to be downwardly mobile, with nearly 40% falling. There was no similar gap between white and Hispanic men, or between women of different races.

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