Middle Class America: More Anxious Than Aspirational
Fifty-nine percent of Americans are afraid of "falling out" of their class in the next few years, according to a Heartland Monitor poll released last week, and middle class Americans are now feeling more anxious than aspirational.
A majority "believe that being middle class today means keeping up with expenses and holding a steady job while not falling behind or taking on too much debt," according to the survey. "Just 43 percent think that middle class means having the opportunity for financial and professional growth, buying a home, and saving and investing for the future."
Here are a few more highlights from the survey of 1,000 US adults:
- Almost all Americans (85 percent) consider themselves a part of an expanded definition of being middle class that includes upper middle class (12 percent), and lower middle class (26 percent)
- Americans believe a typical middle-class family makes between $60,000 and $65,000 per year – actual estimates indicate the median income for an average family of four is $68,274.
- More than half (52 percent) of Americans say the biggest risk factor for falling out of their economic status is losing a job or income source
- 50 percent of all Americans and 51 percent of the middle class consider higher education to be the most effective way to protect and earn middle-class standing
- At least 40 percent of middle class Americans believe paying for a child's college education, retiring comfortably, and having enough money to weather a health or income emergency. only realistic for the upper class.
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