Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Middle Class Is a Feeling

In today's New York Times, an Economix blog post notes that regardless of their actual income level, most Americans think they are middle class. This has long been true because "middle class" is not a statistical point on the income distribution but an attitude, a feeling, a sense of belonging to a fair system that works.

That's why it is alarming to see the latest numbers from the 2010 General Social Survey. When Americans are asked how their family income compares with other families, only 43 percent now feel that their income is average. This is the smallest percentage ever recorded by the General Social Survey and down from a peak of 59 percent in 1973.

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