WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – According to a study released earlier this week by the Pew Research Center, the middle class is receiving less of America’s total income, declining to its smallest share since the end of World War II.
The middle class is defined by a household whose income ranges from $39,000 to $118,000. The survey described this group as its “worst decade in modern history.”
The recession technically ended three years ago, but the middle class is still feeling economic woes.
The Associated Press reports that most middle class people feel they have to reduce spending and even fewer feel their hard work will get them ahead in life. Middle class families also feel their children’s future will be the same or worse.
The survey found that 85 percent of the middle class believe it is more difficult now to maintain a standard of living then it was a decade ago.
“The job market is changing, our living standards are falling in the middle, and the middle-income parents are now afraid that their children will be worse off than they are,” Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economic professor, told The Associated Press.
“These are the disaffected middle class who work hard and play by the rules of society, but increasingly see their situation declining by forces beyond their control. No matter who is president, the climb back up for the middle class and the recovery will be slow and often painful,” Smeeding added.
Since 2000, the median income for America’s middle class has fallen from $72,956 to $69,487.
“The notion that the middle class always enjoys a rising standard of living is a big part of America’s sense of itself. And in modern times, it’s always been true – until now,” Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, told The Associated Press.
“Middle class Americans still have faith in the future – their own, their children’s, the country’s. But their outlook is not as rosy now as it was before the recession began,” Taylor added.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)