middle class

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Middle Class Plummets to Less Than 50% of US

Most of that demographic's gains were wiped out by Great Recession

(Newser) - In 1971, the middle class made up 61% of the US population. That figure has now plummeted to just below half, and analysts are worried about the breakdown of what the Los Angeles Times calls "a pillar of the US economy." A Pew Research Center report released Wednesday... More »

Can't Set Up a Retirement Plan? Now You Can, Gov't Says

New myRA savings plan is free, no-risk vehicle for lower, middle classes

(Newser) - About one-third of non-retired Americans have no retirement savings or pensions to their names—and the government says it has just the thing to remedy that. Cue myRA , a free, no-risk savings plan designed for people who don't have access to (or can't afford) 401(k)s, IRAs, or other... More »

More Middle-Aged White People Are Dying

Princeton study analyzes shift in death demographics

(Newser) - The US death rate has been falling for decades, but researchers have detected one group in which the rates have been steadily ticking up—middle-aged white people. Suicides and deaths from drug overdose and alcohol abuse are being blamed. Deaths rates for other races have continued to fall, as they... More »

The Donald's Tax Plan Has Arrived

Promises to simplify tax code, cut income taxes to zero for lowest earners

(Newser) - Slowly but surely, Donald Trump is bulking up the position statements on his website. His immigration and gun rights platforms have now been joined by his new tax plan , which he announced Monday in a press conference from NYC's Trump Tower, CNBC reports. "Too few Americans are working,... More »

Obama Wants 5M More Americans to Get Overtime

His proposal would more than double current salary threshold to $50,440

(Newser) - "Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve." Those are President Obama's words in a Huffington Post op-ed about a proposal he predicts would help up to 5 million workers in 2016: increasing the overtime salary threshold from $23,660... More »

Obama's New Push: Paid Family, Sick Leave

6 paid weeks off for new child, 7 paid sick days a year are immediate goals

(Newser) - One of the first steps President Obama took in 2015 was to propose free community college . Now he's expected to announce today that he'll direct federal agencies to offer employees up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, the New York ... More »

Report: Rich Americans Give Less to Charity

At least in terms of percentage of income

(Newser) - Around the Great Recession years, wealthy Americans are giving less of their income to charity while middle- and low-earners give more—and those who supported Mitt Romney for president give the most of all, the Christian Science Monitor reports. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy , Americans who make over $200,... More »

In a First, Canada's Middle Class Is Richer Than US'

New York Times breaks down world income

(Newser) - Sorry, middle-class residents of the US. Your long reign as the richest middle class in the world has come to an end, reports the New York Times . Canada, which caught up to America in 2010 with a median after-tax income of $75,000 for a family of four, is the... More »

Silicon Valley: Where America's Middle Class Died

Behind Google and Apple, there's a stark class divide: Charlotte Allen

(Newser) - Silicon Valley is home to creative thinkers, green cars, and cool cafes—right? True enough, but it's also a place where rich entrepreneurs live in one part of town and their poor Hispanic maids and gardeners live in another. And tech workers cluster in apartments because houses are too... More »

Middle Class Was 'Historical Fluke'—and We Let It Die

Edward McClelland thinks government action is necessary to prevent aristocracy

(Newser) - It's a sign of Edward McClelland's age that he remembers the middle class. He grew up in an automaking town in the 1970s, where even high school dropouts could get jobs that would support a family and a mortgage payment. Everyone assumed this was capitalism's triumphant endpoint,... More »

Record Numbers Call Themselves 'Lower Class'

Wealth gap may help explain phenomenon

(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... More »

Support Up for Gay Marriage, Down for Abortion

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan addresses the abortion issue

(Newser) - Support for gay marriage is up, but the same isn't true for abortion, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll . The survey of 1,000 people found 53% in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry, up two points since December (it notes the rise is... More »

Who Makes It to Middle Class? The Advantaged

Two in three Americans get there, but it's a lot more likely if you're born in it

(Newser) - Roughly two out of every three Americans wind up in the middle class or higher by the time they turn 40, but it's a lot more likely to happen if you're born into wealthy family to begin with, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution. Children... More »

2000s Were 'Lost Decade' for Middle Class

Household incomes, net worth shriveled

(Newser) - The 2000s were a "lost decade" for America's middle class that left them poorer and more pessimistic than they were 10 years earlier, according to a Pew Research Center study. For the first time since at least World War II, middle-class incomes and net worth declined over the... More »

In Today's America, Death of a Salesman Is Dead

Because we have no middle class to celebrate

(Newser) - Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a bravura performance in the new revival of Death of a Salesman, but as he watched, Lee Siegel wondered "why the play was revived at all," he writes in the New York Times . After all, Salesman is about the delusions of the middle class,... More »

Worst Liars and Cheaters: Rich People

And they'll cut you off in traffic, for that matter

(Newser) - You might think that people who are comparatively well off would be less likely to lie and cheat to make a buck, but you'd be wrong. A series of experiments from UC Berkeley doctoral student Paul Piff found that time and again upper-class people were willing to do shady... More »

Average Isn't Good Enough Anymore in America

Globalization, technology have pushed out the average guy

(Newser) - Once upon a time, an average worker with average skills could expect an average lifestyle in America—but not anymore. "Today, average is officially over," writes Thomas Friedman of the New York Times . Average people can't expect the lifestyle they used to enjoy, because "employers have... More »

Apple Proves It: Jobs 'Aren't Coming Back' to America

Asia provides workers, flexibility that US can't match

(Newser) - Last year, President Obama asked Steve Jobs whether iPhones could be made in the US instead of Asia. Jobs was blunt: “Those jobs aren’t coming back." The New York Times takes a long look at why. In short, Asia has a surplus of engineers and factory workers... More »

Middle-Class Neighborhoods Dying Off

Stanford study says numbers have dropped sharply since 1970

(Newser) - A major new study from Stanford finds that America's middle class is shrinking in a big way, reports the New York Times . The researchers looked at 117 of the nation's biggest metropolitan areas and discovered that 44% of families live in areas defined as middle class, down from... More »

One in 3 Falling Out of Middle Class

New study shows downward mobility is rampant

(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,... More »

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