Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life

Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life

A majority of Americans feel stuck in their tracks — and for good reason, a new report from the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project argues. The report, Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life (169 pages, PDF), presents the results of a survey of Americans' sense of their own progress and mobility, economic choices, standard of living, anxieties and aspirations, and social and political values, while examining income and demographic data trends. According to the survey, 56 percent of Americans say they have not moved forward in life or have fallen back over the past five years — the most negative short-term assessment in half a century of polling. Meanwhile, real median income, adjusted for inflation, has not returned to the peak level it reached in 1999, even as income inequality has widened.