The study focused on people who were middle-class teenagers in 1979 and who were between 39 and 44 years old in 2004 and 2006. It defines people as middle-class if they fall between the 30th and 70th percentiles in income distribution, which for a family of four is between $32,900 and $64,000 a year in 2010 dollars.
People were deemed downwardly mobile if they fell below the 30th percentile in income, if their income rank was 20 or more percentiles below their parents’ rank, or if they earn at least 20 percent less than their parents. The findings do not cover the difficult times that the nation has endured since 2007.
So, before the credit crunch, before the housing bubble broke, before the banks began to steal people’s houses with fraudulent paperwork and the government reneged on it’s guarantees to provide social services, 1/3 of Americans who grew up in middle class families are now impoverished.
What would our demographics look like today? How many citizens have been forced into poverty by the deliberate theft of wealth from the middle class?
This is interesting. Libertarian economist Phil Horwitz has a rhetorically powerful video in which he demonstrates that income mobility is extremely high in America for people who begin their lives in the bottom 20%. However, this study is a very strong counter-point to that video, suggesting that people are falling out of the Middle Class as quickly as they fall into it.