Pew Research Center analyst Drew DeSilver unravels the enigma over how, as populations of both wealthier and poorer Americans swell, the middle class tier--the traditional anchor of our society--is dwindling.
DeSilver finds from Census data that among employed adults:
The upper-income tier has grown the most in the financial and natural-resources industries (think oil and gas), and among executives and managers. At the same time, the lower-income tier increased the most among retail sales workers and “operators,” a grouping of mostly blue-collar manufacturing-type jobs.
Part of the issue is that income mobility, from the lower income tiers into the middle has seized up, while income mobility from middle to lower has accelerated.