Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

April 2, 2014

More Americans see middle class status slipping

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sense of belonging to the middle class occupies a cherished place in America. It conjures images of self-sufficient people with stable jobs and pleasant homes working toward prosperity.

Yet nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are coming to the painful realization that they're no longer part of it.

They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay. Such setbacks have emerged in economic statistics for several years. Now they're affecting how Americans think of themselves.

Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53 percent to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25 percent in February 2008.

According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they're middle or upper-middle class fell 8 points between 2008 and 2012, to 55 percent.

And the most recent National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey found that the vast proportion of Americans who call themselves middle or working class, though still high at 88 percent, is the lowest in the survey's 40-year history. It's fallen 4 percentage points since the recession began in 2007.

The trend reflects a widening gap between the richest Americans and everyone else, one that's emerged gradually over decades and accelerated with the Great Recession. The difference between the income earned by the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans and by a median-income household has risen 24 percent in 30 years, according to the Census Bureau.

Whether or not people see themselves as middle class, there's no agreed-upon definition of the term. In part, it's a state of mind. Incomes or lifestyles that feel middle class in Kansas can feel far different in Connecticut. People with substantial incomes often identify as middle class if they live in urban centers with costly food, housing and transportation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • Film Review Guardians of the Galaxy-6 [Duplicate] Review: 'Guardians' is irreverent but not enough At the height of their powers, our overlords at Marvel have deigned to prove, like an emperor tolerating a court jester, that they do, in fact, have a sense of humor. The Marvel universe, of course, isn't entirely lacking comedy, as we've seen in "Ir

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • TV-Sharknado 2-6 [Duplicate] 'Sharknado' sequel has bite and lots of laughs NEW YORK (AP) — Don't worry about me. The Sharknado Evacuation map supplied by Syfy network places me, as a resident of Lower Manhattan, smack in the zone most in peril this sharknado season. But I'll be ready. You might as well batten down the hatch

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Virus drugmaker fights pediatricians' new advice CHICAGO (AP) — A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines f

    July 28, 2014

  • Family Slain Maine [Duplicate] Police investigate deaths of family of 5 in Maine SACO, Maine (AP) — The state medical examiner plans to conduct autopsies on the bodies of five family members found shot to death in an apartment in southern Maine. Three children ages 4, 7 and 12 were among the victims discovered Sunday afternoon wh

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama Exporting Pollution [Duplicate] Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Coal from Appalachia rumbles into this port city, 150 railroad cars at a time, bound for the belly of the massive cargo ship Prime Lily. The ship soon sets sail for South America, its 80,000 tons of coal destined for power pl

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • FedEx Indicted [Duplicate] FedEx charges raise online pharmacy issues SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — FedEx Corp., the latest company accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions. The company says it would hav

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-12 [Duplicate] Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite each side offering different truces to temporarily halt nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday. After initially rejecti

    July 27, 2014 10 Photos

  • Health Overhaul-3 [Duplicate] Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire WASHINGTON (AP) — If you have health insurance at your job, you probably don't give much thought to each year's renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises. Insurance exchange custo

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Teen Pilot Crash_Kova.jpg Memorial service set to honor Indiana crash victims

    A memorial service at sea will be held for a 17-year-old pilot from Indiana and his father, whose plane crashed during an around-the-world flight attempt.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller