The number of people who believe they are part of the lower class has increased, 1/3 of Americans now identify as lower class, according to a new survey by the PEW Center. This is an increase from 4 years ago when 1/4 said they were lower class. Meanwhile the profile of who self-identifies has also changed in that span of time, with a significant increase in the number of young people (18 to 29) now considering themselves lower class.
The survey also delves into causes of poverty, with things like cutbacks in spending, trouble paying bills, trouble getting medical care, and being laid off among the possible reasons people listed. For those who see themselves as lower class, cuts in household spending and difficulty paying bills in the past years were the top two problems cited.
Also interesting from the survey data, among Black respondents, the amount of people identifying as lower class has not changed over the last 4 years. That percentage, 33%, is now very close to the 31% among White respondents. The number of Hispanics identifying as lower class however, increased significantly from 30% in 2008 to 40% in 2010.
Hows the middle class doing, you may ask? According to Pew, the number of people identifying as middle class has shrunk from 53% to 49%. It is still a very large and significant part of the population, yet also a segment of the population that seems to be at risk of moving down. Those classifying themselves as upper class, meanwhile, have also decreased from 21% to 17%.
Overall the numbers illustrate once again that the economic situation in the United States is bad and the number of people who feel they are in financial trouble continues to increase.
Source: The Society Pages
Photos: ifmuth / flickr