‘Unsustainable;’ Reports show U.S. middle class is getting smaller, poverty line on the rise

The U.S. middle class is getting smaller and the number of Americans falling toward poverty is on the rise.

As reported on News Center 7 at 5:30, more and more people are falling toward poverty as prices rise.

“Most people have seen their wages go up a little and go up over time, but they’re not enough to compensate for the higher prices,” Dr. Michael Walden, an Economist at North Carolina State University said.

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, in 1971, 61% of the nation was middle class. As of 2023, that number has dropped to 51%.

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“Just try not to eat out as much. I kind of realized pretty quickly that that’s As. So just trying to make some more meals at home,” A North Carolina resident said.

Pew researchers define “middle class” as having a total income of at least two-thirds to twice as much as the median household.

Analysts there say things like the monthly bills at the grocery store are getting more expensive.

“I have seen it increase. Definitely,” Stacia Gluth said.

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Sky-high interest rates and persistent inflation have more middle-class Americans keeping a tighter grip on their wallets.

“People are now having to realize, and they always do. But I think even more so they have to make choices. We’re seeing that in the marketplace,” Walden said.

The report from Pew Research also says all classes had incomes that were higher in 2022 than in 1970 when adjusted for inflation.

The increases for those in the middle and lower brackets were much lower than the upper class.