34 Signs That Point To A Rapidly Shrinking American Middle Class

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Do you ever get the feeling that the middle class in America is shrinking?  Well, you are not imagining things.

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A confluence of very troubling long-term economic trends has created an environment in which the middle class in America is being absolutely shredded.

Today, most American families would be absolutely thrilled if they could live as well as past generations did.  The dream of receiving a solid education, getting a good job, owning a beautiful home and enjoying the good things that America has to offer is increasingly becoming out of reach for a growing number of Americans.

The reality is that even though our population has grown, there are less jobs than there used to be.  A much higher percentage of the jobs that remain are low income jobs.  Millions of middle class American families are desperately trying to hang on as inflation far outpaces the growth of their paychecks.  Millions of others have fallen completely out of the middle class and are now totally dependent on the government for survival.

We once had the largest, most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now way too much unemployment, way too much inflation, way too much greed and way too much debt are all starting to catch up with us.  America is changing, and not for the better.

When most of us were growing up, we understood that there was an unspoken promise that if we got good grades, stayed out of trouble, worked really hard and did everything we were told to do, the system would reward us.

Well, today there are millions of Americans that have done all of those things but don’t have anything to show for it.

As large numbers of hard working people continue to fall out of the middle class, there is a growing sense that “the system” has betrayed us all.

Only 42% of all jobs in the U.S. are middle income jobs

That's a 10 per cent drop from 1980.

Source: Middle Class Under Stress

Similarly, more than 40% of all jobs are now low income jobs

And that's up from less than 30 per cent in 1980.

Source: Middle Class Under Stress

Only 63.5% of men are working

That's full or part-time. This is actually up from 63.3 per cent in December 2009, the lowest national percentage since 1948.

Source: Bloomberg

Just 81.2% of men ages 25-54 are working

In 1969, almost all men (95 per cent) between ages 25 and 54 were employed.

Source: Bloomberg

For 64% of America, a $1000 expense means a loan

The majority of us would need to borrow the money if an unexpected $1000 dollar purchase had to be made.

Source: National Foundation for Credit Counseling

40% of all wealth is owned by the top 1%

The wealthiest 1 per cent have almost half the total wealth in the country.

Source: Vanity Fair

The poorest 50% of all Americans control just 2.5% of the wealth in the U.S.

The top 1% owns 50% of stocks and bonds as well

The bottom 90% have an average $31,244 per year income

Meanwhile, the top 0.1% earn $5.6 million on average

That's $5.6 million, every year.

Source: The Washington Post

The median wage for men 30-50 has dropped by 27%

That's after accounting for inflation, from 1969 to 2009.

Source: Bloomberg

Only the top 5% of U.S. households can match rising housing costs

Costs have been rising steadily since 1975, and only the top 5 per cent have enough additional income to keep up.

Source: DailyFinance

We have the lowest employee compensation in 50 years

That's relative to our gross domestic product during the economic downturn.

Source: Financial Armageddon

Health care costs account for roughly 16.3% of all personal spending.

It was just 9.5 per cent back in 1980.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Credit card debt is more than 8x larger today

Total credit card debt was 1/8 as much in the 1980s.

Source: The American Dream

Despite adding 30 million people to the population, there are fewer payroll jobs now than in 2000

Source: U.S. News

In 11 years we lost 10% of middle class jobs

In 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the U.S., and today there are about 65 million middle class jobs.

Source: Zerohedge.com

Obtaining a low wage job is about as hard as getting into an Ivy League: roughly 7 per cent of all those that apply to get into Harvard are accepted.

Source: CBS2Chicago

19. 40 weeks for a new job

An average unemployed worker in the U.S. needs an average of 40 weeks -- more than 9 months -- to find a new job.

Source: The Economic Collapse

Higher wage industries account for 40% of job loss and 14% of job growth

Compare that to lower wage industries, which account of 49 per cent of job growth and 23 per cent of job losses.

Source: The National Employment Law Project

Half of all American workers earn $505 a week or less

Source: Tax.com

College tuition has risen 900% since 1978

Source: Benzinga.com

Over 100,000 janitors and 317,000 food servers in the U.S. today have college degrees

Despite their education, 17 million college graduates are doing jobs that do not even require a college degree

36 per cent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to a retirement plan

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com

Source: CNBC

1 of 50 to 1 of 6 on Medicaid

In 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans received Medicaid. Today, it is one out of every 6.

Source: USA Inc.

More than 45 million Americans are on food stamps

This is an all-time record -- way up from a 2007 count that put the number of users at 26 million.

Source: CNN Money

74% food stamp increase since 2007

Source: CNN Money

1 out of every 4 American children are on food stamps

18.4% of personal income comes from government transfer payments

Back in 1980, the number was at 11.7 per cent.

Source: Middle Class Under Stress

Food pantry and soup kitchen attendance is up 46% over the last 5 years

The number of Americans attending food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% over the last five years.

Source: USA Today

1 out of every 6 elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line

In the U.S., over 20 per cent of all children are now living in poverty

Compare that number to the UK and France, where childhood poverty is well under 10 per cent.

Source: AlterNet

The richest 1% of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% combined

Which about says it all.

Source: Federal Reserve

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