Middle Class Is Shrinking In Every State

As housing costs rose between 2000 to 2013, more Americans nationwide fell out of the middle class.

Middle Class Is Shrinking In Every State Photo (cc) by Daquella manera

If you think the middle class is shrinking, it isn’t your imagination.

A new analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline shows that the percentage of middle-class households decreased in all 50 states between 2000 and 2013.

Stateline’s Tim Henderson cites rising housing costs as a culprit:

The change occurred even as the median income in most states declined, when adjusted for inflation. 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.

Here’s the breakdown for Florida, where Money Talks News is headquartered:

  • The share of middle-class households decreased from about 49 percent in 2000 to about 46 percent in 2013.
  • The median income decreased from $53,500 to $46,000.
  • The share of households spending at least 30 percent of their income on housing increased from 32 percent to 39 percent.

Henderson based the analysis on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, or IPUMS-USA.

His analysis defines middle-class households as those earning between 67 percent and 200 percent of their state’s average income.

The average annual household income nationwide was around $53,000 between 2009 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So the middle class in that case comprises households earning about $35,500 to $106,000 per year.

What’s your reaction to the news? Surprised? Depressed? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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