The middle class in America is being systematically destroyed. Once upon a time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world. The rest of the globe looked at us in envy and wondered what we were doing right. But now everything seems to be going wrong for the middle class. Millions of our jobs have been shipped out of the country and competition for the remaining jobs is keeping wages at depressed levels. Meanwhile, the cost of living just keeps going up and up and middle class budgets are being stretched and strained like never before. Millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty every single year, and government dependence is at an all-time high. Finding a solution to the decline of the middle class is absolutely central to fixing the economic problems in this country. Without a large, thriving middle class this would not be America. The truth is that people from all over the world want to come here because they want to work hard, buy a house, raise a family and provide a better future for their children. This has traditionally been “the land of opportunity”, but now the middle class is rapidly declining and none of our politicians seem to have any solutions. With each passing day, the American Dream is slipping through the fingers of millions of hard working American families. We owe it to them to get this thing fixed.
The following are 84 statistics that prove that the decline of the middle class is real and that it is getting worse….
1. According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.
2. The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.
3. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
4. The average net worth of a middle class family in America was $129,582 in 2001. By 2010 that figure had dropped to $93,150.
5. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of all families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
6. Back in 1970, middle income Americans brought home 62 percent of all income in the United States. In 2010, middle income Americans only brought home 45 percent of all income.
7. After you adjust for inflation, median family income in the United States has fallen by about 6 percent since the year 2000.
8. Real median household income has decreased by more than 4000 dollars since Barack Obama entered the White House.
9. Amazingly, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
10. In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”. By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.
11. If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.
12. The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #12.
13. The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today. Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.
14. Back in 2007, 19.2 percent of all American families had a net worth of zero or less. By 2010, that figure had risen to 32.5 percent.
15. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
16. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger. Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
17. Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.
18. There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
19. The average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011, and electricity bills in the U.S. have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
20. Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.
21. Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
22. Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
23. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
24. Total consumer debt in the United States has risen by 1700 percent since 1971.
25. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.
26. One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
27. According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
28. According to a report released in 2010, Americans spend approximately twice as much as residents of other developed countries do on health care.
29. According to one recent survey, approximately 10 percent of all employers in the United States plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of the new health care law kick in less than two years from now.
30. According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not paying their bills on time at this point.
31. The wealthiest 20 percent of all Americans now control 84 percent of all the wealth in America.
32. Right now, over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.
33. Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners brought in about 8 percent of all income. Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.
34. 40 years ago, the top 1/10,000th of all U.S. households brought in about 1 percent of all income. Today, they bring in about 5 percent of all income.
35. Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.
36. The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans do combined.
37. The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
38. At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
39. The following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010….
-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners
-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent
-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent
40. The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent recession.
41. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.
42. Overall, the number of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.
43. In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
44. The average pay for self-employed Americans fell by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.
45. In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people. Only about 140 million of them are working.
46. Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
47. Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
48. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
49. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
50. According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. That year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
51. At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
52. Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.
53. If you can believe it, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
54. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
55. At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are considered to be good jobs.
56. Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
57. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
58. In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.
59. In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.
60. It is being projected that when the final numbers come out later this year that the U.S. poverty rate will be the highest that it has been in almost 50 years.
61. It is also being projected that about half of all American adults will spend at least some time living below the poverty line before they turn 65.
62. Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.
63. It was recently reported that 1.5 million American families live on less than two dollars a day (before counting government benefits).
64. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of “very poor” rose in 300 out of the 360 largest metropolitan areas during 2010.
65. According to one recent poll, 18.2 percent of all Americans have not been able to buy enough food to eat at some point during this past year.
66. Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6% poverty rate.
67. In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
68. At this point, approximately 22 percent of all American children are living in poverty.
69. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.
70. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.
71. Child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.
72. There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.
73. Approximately one-fourth of all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program.
74. It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
75. Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6 million and the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 14 million.
76. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.
77. Federal housing assistance outlays increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.
78. Approximately 50 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all right now.
79. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
80. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
81. Overall, the amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has risen by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
82. According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.
83. If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government at this point.
84. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.
In compiling the information above, I relied heavily on research that I had previously done for The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream Blog.
So what do all of you think about the decline of the middle class?
Feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….