The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.
The shrinking of the middle class at the national level, to the point where it may no longer be the economic majority in the U.S., was documented in an earlier analysis by the Pew Research Center. The changes at the metropolitan level, the subject of this in-depth look at the American middle class, demonstrate that the national trend is the result of widespread declines in localities all around the country.
Here are six key takeaways from the new report:
- The decline in the share of adults who are middle class nationally also proved to be a pervasive local phenomenon in the period from 2000 to 2014. With fewer Americans in the middle-income tier, the economic tiers above and below have grown in significance over time.
- The share of adults in the upper-income tier increased more than the lower-income share in about half the metropolitan areas analyzed. But the lower-income share increased more in 110 areas.
- Nationally, the share of adults in the middle class has fallen since 2000 and the shares in lower- and upper-income tiers have increased.
- Households in all economic tiers experienced near-universal decreases in median incomes across U.S. metropolitan areas.
- The 10 metropolitan areas with the greatest shares of middle-income adults are located mostly in the Midwest. Metropolitan areas with the largest upper-income shares are mostly to the northeast or on the California coast, while the 10 metropolitan areas with the biggest lower-income tiers are to the southwest, several on the border with Mexico.
- There is notable variation in the median income of middle-class households across U.S. metropolitan areas.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The shrinking middle class in U.S. metropolitan areas: 6 key findings | Pew Research Center