Study finds American middle class has collapsed over last decade
By Catholic Online (News Consortium)
4/22/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Long thought impossible, a new study suggests that the American middle class has lost its standing in the world as the most affluent global class.
A study shows that America's middle class has collapsed during the last decade.
The LIS study shows that the American middle class has lost its affluence in the world.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a study based on surveys conducted over the last 35 years by New York Times website The Upshot and LIS, an organization that maintains the Luxembourg Income Study database, showed that citizens in the lower and middle income tiers in other advanced nations have, over the last three decades, received considerably larger raises than comparable to their counterparts in America.
In 2000, Canada's after-tax incomes for the middle class were substantially behind those of Americans, but the study shows that they now appear to be higher than those in America. Even the poor in other countries are doing better, in much of Europe they're better off than the poor in America.
A family in the 20th percentile of income distribution in America makes significantly less than those in Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. When the study began the opposite was true.
These findings are shocking because per capita GDP, the most commonly cited statistic when discussing economics, continues to show that the United States maintains a large lead over the rest of the world, and is still the richest. However, these numbers are averages and do not adequately show the real income distribution, which is a relatively large slice going to a small portion of the country.
Median per capita income has been virtually unchanged in the US since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. By comparison in Britain and Canada, it went up 20 percent.
Part of the reason is that the youth of American, those between the ages of 16 and 24, have fallen behind the educational ability and skills of those age groups in other developing countries. Another key factor is that companies in the US do not distribute as much of their wealth to the middle and poorer classes, as companies do elsewhere.
"The idea that the median American has so much more income than the middle class in all other parts of the world is not true these days," said Harvard economist Lawrence Katz. "In 1960 we were massively richer than anyone else. In 1980, we were richer. In the 1990's, we were still richer."
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