Monday, May 16, 2016


"There's less middle in the middle class as income inequality grows, Pew analysis finds" PBS NewsHour 5/12/2016


SUMMARY:  The middle class has taken center stage in this election cycle, and it turns out there are increasingly fewer Americans who qualify.  A new Pew analysis finds their ranks have shrunk since 2000 and that in at least 160 metro areas there's been a rise in both lower and upper class families.  Hari Sreenivasan talks to Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal for more on why the middle class is shrinking.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  We have spent much time this year talking about the travails of the middle class.  Now a new analysis shows how it's shrinking in most U.S. metro areas.

From Boston to Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Midland, Texas, to Seattle, there are fewer adults living in middle class households across the country than there were in 2000.  The analysis by the Pew Research Center found that in 160 metro areas, there was an increase of lower-income households.  And 172 metro areas saw a rise in upper-income households.

This year, we're teaming up with American Public Media's Marketplace and PBS' “Frontline” on how economic forces are affecting Americans.  It's called "How the Deck Is Stacked."

And the host of Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal, joins us again.

Kai, just so we're all on the same page, who is really middle class vs. who thinks they're middle class?

KAI RYSSDAL, Host & Senior Editor, Marketplace:  So, for the purposes of this study, Hari, it goes like this.

Anybody making from two-thirds to twice the median income in this country.  So, it's $47,000 to about $125,000, if you want to run the numbers.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, those are the folks that are actually in the middle class.  But we kind of feel like there are a lot of people in the middle class, a lot of people who would want to self-identify as a member of the middle class.  I'm the average Joe.

KAI RYSSDAL:  Right, that's what we are in this country.  Right?  We are aspirational.  We want inclusive prosperity.

If you stop seven people — 10 people on the street, probably seven of them would say I am the middle class.  And that's why this study matters, right, because what happens in this economy is that the middle class drives it.  The middle class are the consumers.  Right?  Their upper ends are the investors.  The lower end are getting by.  The middle class are the consumers in this economy.

And so what this study really says is, this is bad news for the future of economic growth in this country, and that's why it matters.

No comments: