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 new No. 1. Or at least is "very likely" the new No. 1, given income surveys in both countries conducted since then, write David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy in a lengthy analysis of international incomes.
“The idea that the median American has so much more income than the middle class in all other parts of the world is not true these days,” says Harvard economist Lawrence Katz. “In 1960, we were massively richer than anyone else. In 1980, we were richer. In the 1990s, we were still richer.” No more, however, despite the fact that the US is still the richest large country overall. Rising income inequality takes the blame there. The US middle class still leads countries in Europe, but the gap has narrowed substantially of late in most nations. Among poor people—those in the 20th percentile of income distribution—it's even worse. The US trails badly in comparison to Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, or the Netherlands, a reversal from 35 years ago. Click for the full analysis. (Read more income inequality stories.)