Middle Class America: More Anxious Than Aspirational

Middle class family
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The core of the middle class belief system is that anything is attainable through hard work, whether it's a good education, home ownership or a healthy retirement fund. But that mentality has changed, especially since the recession.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans are afraid of "falling out" of their class in the next few years, according to a Heartland Monitor poll released last week, and middle class Americans are now feeling more anxious than aspirational.

A majority "believe that being middle class today means keeping up with expenses and holding a steady job while not falling behind or taking on too much debt," according to the survey. "Just 43 percent think that middle class means having the opportunity for financial and professional growth, buying a home, and saving and investing for the future."

Here are a few more highlights from the survey of 1,000 US adults:
  • Almost all Americans (85 percent) consider themselves a part of an expanded definition of being middle class that includes upper middle class (12 percent), and lower middle class (26 percent)
  • Americans believe a typical middle-class family makes between $60,000 and $65,000 per year – actual estimates indicate the median income for an average family of four is $68,274.
  • More than half (52 percent) of Americans say the biggest risk factor for falling out of their economic status is losing a job or income source
  • 50 percent of all Americans and 51 percent of the middle class consider higher education to be the most effective way to protect and earn middle-class standing
  • At least 40 percent of middle class Americans believe paying for a child's college education, retiring comfortably, and having enough money to weather a health or income emergency. only realistic for the upper class.
While overall Americans are in a better place than they were during the recession, most actually got poorer during the early part of the recovery, with the unemployment rate still at 7.7 percent. The skyrocketing cost of college tuition also makes achieving the "middle class ideal" more difficult than ever before.

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GRat John

It is true that recession is dangerous for all of us.But we still need to take care of our well-being.
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July 31 2013 at 11:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Aurelius Terminas

Clearly, at times of recession and economic downturn people need the most motivation. It's easy to flow with the tide when things are going good, but it's the time when economy collapses that we truly re-consider our job security; and unfortunately, many of us get laid off. I know it's frightening, but chasing that paycheck isn't the only solution. Think of the problems as the new opportunities. Open your eyes - try to see the whole picture. Maybe it's time for you to think what else you could do to make your living. http://needacareerchange.com

July 22 2013 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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July 19 2013 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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May 19 2013 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

we don't suffer from this ANGST.
paid for by OURSELVES.

still possible and DEFINITELY HAPPENING for ALL wiling to WORK and achieve their GOALS.

May 01 2013 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

now tell me WHY ARE ONLY the bedwetters the only ONES EVER INTERVIEWED

April 30 2013 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to setanta54s_back's comment

how many out here were EVER interviewed ?
i don't know of ONE....and i'm in an overcrowded yuptardia/little egypt /sanctuary city /turd world / zipcode.

May 01 2013 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply