Battered Middle Class Reports Struggling, Stalling

Those with college educations doing far better than others
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2010 1:55 PM CDT
A man arrives home at the Riverton Houses apartment complex in New York in this file photo. The historic middle-class Harlem apartment complex was recently sold in a foreclosure sale.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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(Newser) – The middle class is feeling the pinch. Of the 45% of Americans who consider themselves middle class—a fraction that's pretty much held steady for 4 decades—four in 10 say they’re struggling to remain there, according to a new ABC News poll. The biggest factor: education. Among those with college degrees, 75% said they were “comfortably” middle class and 25% were struggling; among those without degrees, 49% said they were struggling.

The average income for those who consider themselves middle class is $55,000 a year, compared to $35,000 for working class, though many far poorer or richer than that still considered themselves middle class. A mere 6% of the self-identified middle class foresees attaining upper-class status. Among those with middle income, 28% said someone in their household had lost a job in the past year; among those whose incomes are lower, that figure jumped to 39%.

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