A Pew Stateline analysis published earlier this month shows that “the percentage of “middle-class” households- those making between 67 percent and 200 percent of the state’s median income- shrunk between 2000 and 2013.” When adjusted for inflation, median income has declined for most states. Stateline reports that “In most states, the growing percentage of households paying 30 percent (the federal standard for housing affordability) or more of their income on housing illustrates that it is increasingly difficult for many American families to make ends meet.”
Stateline has a state-by-state interactive map titled “The Shrinking Middle Class,” where you can hover over each state to see the share of households that are middle class, the median income, and the share of households that spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing.
In short, incomes are not increasing enough to keep up with the costs of living. The idea that temporary lower fuel prices are sufficient to offset the rising costs of food, clothing, health care and rent seem little more than wishful thinking. The middle class is disappearing.
Creative Commons photo courtesy of Daniel Lobo on flickr.
On the unrelated subject of the Decorah Eagles, it is a good time to check the live cam, as eggs are expected to hatch soon- possibly beginning today, according to the Des Moines Register. There are three eggs, and the nest is currently snowy: