Record Numbers Call Themselves 'Lower Class'
Wealth gap may help explain phenomenon
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Sep 16, 2013 7:31 AM CDT
A record percentage of Americans see themselves as "lower class."   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – For four decades, pollsters have been asking Americans to identify themselves by class; typically, most call themselves middle- or working-class. In the latest edition of the survey, however, a record 8.4% have dubbed themselves lower-class, the Los Angeles Times reports. That's a change from previous economic downturns, when hardly anyone identified with the term. It's not just unemployed people who refer to themselves that way; many part-time workers do, too, as do some who attended college.

Meanwhile, less than 55%—a record low—agreed that "people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living." "The feeling is that things are not likely to get better anytime soon," says an expert. What's more, the wealth gap between rich and poor has been expanding; the wealthiest 10% of Americans had more than half the country's income last year. Thanks to the 2012 presidential election and the Occupy movement, it appears people are aware of the gap. That may help explain why more identify as lower-class than than they did in 1993 and 1983, which saw equally high poverty rates, the Times notes.

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Showing 3 of 209 comments
Scott603
Sep 16, 2013 8:23 PM CDT
Let's be absolutely clear on this, the baby killing, war mongering president before Obama spent over $10,000 per family on an absurd war that made the world hate us (and rightfully so!) while our dollar and stock market fell in half. In the last days of W commercial paper, the backbone of our economy, was frozen shut, and W's Treasury secretary and the Fed Chairman thought America might be unsavable. Obama came to the rescue and saved our ass. He bailed out the auto industry against the wishes of the Republicans who wanted to flush 2 million jobs down the drain. The auto industry is profitable now! The banks are better capitalized now and in a far less risky situation. Every American should be bowing down and thanking God for Obama, the man who saved America. Yes, unemployment is still sky high, goods are going up faster than wages, and the road to recovery is long indeed. But as bad as things are right now, we came damned close to going third world.
altalks21
Sep 16, 2013 5:36 PM CDT
Everything has gone up except wages, I think at one time the minimum wage had a cost of living clause but was taken out. Either way, it is time to replace the dinosaur minimum wage and replace it with a Living Wage that has a cost of living in it. That will take care of the inequity in wages between those that have and those that don't.
Fascist_Jack
Sep 16, 2013 4:55 PM CDT
What's really funny here is that not ONE Liberal on this board has said anything bad about Obama, when this is clearly Obama's economy.