Pew Research Center staffers Rakesh Kochhar and Richard Fry drill down into the American middle class households and find that they are no longer this country's economic majority. On the contrary, the upper-income households now hold a larger share of aggregate household income than ever before in the past 44 years. Kochhar and Fry explains their methodology:
"We define middle-income households as those whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income after incomes have been adjusted for household size. This amounts to about $42,000 to $126,000 annually, in 2014 dollars and for a household of three. Lower-income households have incomes less than two-thirds of the median, while upper-income households have incomes that are more than double the median."
Other findings include:
- The decline in the middle class represents both economic progress and polarization;
- Over the long haul, America’s middle-income households have seen their income grow;
- The share of U.S. aggregate household income held by middle-income households has plunged;
- Over the years, certain demographic groups have fared better than others in moving up the economic ladder.