10 Places Where It’s Tough for America’s Middle Class To Get By

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Woman struggling to pay bills
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Anyone who is part of the American middle class knows they are lucky, especially compared with many others in the world. But that doesn’t mean middle-class life in the U.S. is without challenges.

Recently, the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity ranked the 50 largest U.S. metro areas based on the quality of life they offer to folks in the middle class.

The cities were ranked on factors such as the true cost of living — including food and housing — weekly earnings and the percentage of the population struggling to find a job with a living wage.

Based on those factors, here are places where it’s tough for America’s middle class to get by.

1. Fresno, California

Fresno California
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In Fresno, 57.4% of households do not earn incomes that allow them to meet basic needs, according to the LISEP analysis. Just 40% of adults 25 and older in the metro have earned a postsecondary degree, a share that ranks 49th out of the 50 metros surveyed.

2. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

Las Vegas Skyline
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More than half of households in the Las Vegas area — 51.2% — do not earn enough money to meet basic needs. The average household’s income is 22.1% short of what is required to afford necessities.

3. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii
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The middle class is struggling in urban Honolulu, with 47.8% of residents with that status not earning enough to meet basic needs. Since 2005, a typical worker in the city has seen purchasing power decline by 12.4%.

Other major metros where it’s tough to be in the middle class

Tulsa Oklahoma
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These metros make up the rest of the 10 metro areas where LISEP says middle-class folks struggle most to get by:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Memphis, Tennesse-Mississippi-Arkansas
  • New York City-Newark, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania
  • New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

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