The Shrinking Middle Class

There has been a national demographic shift in the money of America’s families.

For many decades, most Americans have identified themselves as ‘middle class.’  However, a recent report by the Pew Research Center indicates that the middle class is now a minority. This hasn’t just happened overnight, however. It’s been a gradual change over 40 years. And, quite frankly, it’s not a matter of if, but of when the problem is going to be solved.

If there are fewer people in the middle class, where are they going?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the middle class is defined as households making from $42,000 to $126,000. There are more people in the upper class and lower classes combined than the middle class in the US, even though upper and lower classes are the opposite ends of the spectrum. There are now more successful people in America than ever, but there are also more low-income families.You can thank recessions, the wage gap and income inequality for that.

These nation-wide trends affect Thousand Oaks and students.  Mostly middle class kids go to public high schools in TO, but with a shrinking middle class, families with high school age kids work harder than ever to generate money, while only a generation ago schools were easily funding activities and sports. The money that could be going towards school programs is now concentrated in the upper classes.

The phrase, “Middle Class Over Millionaires” is coming into fashion by way of angry protesters. That may be because of the fact that middle-class families’ incomes have risen a significantly smaller percentage than upper class families’.

However, that slogan overly simplifies the issue. Nobody is going to take the upper class’ money away. There is no magical fairy that decides which families deserves the money they make.

And as a high school student, I know that the solutions won’t be simple to growing the middle class again.

I also know that we can live in denial and use the economy’s “revival” to say that the middle class is improving. But that doesn’t do justice to reality—the middle class is shrinking. And the gargantuan wage gap is preventing us from making further progress out of the seemingly eternal recession.

Are we going to have to fight to be one of the few lucky ones? If that’s the case, then all I can say is: Here’s to a less prosperous America.