GC’s Stone Center and Pew Research Center Reveal Shrinking Middle Class

Source: Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg (LIS)

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center in partnership with the GC’s Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality offers a comprehensive analysis of inequality and the status of the middle class in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, including the United States.

The study, “Middle Class Fortunes in Western Europe,” shows that the middle class is shrinking in many countries in Western Europe and in the United States — which, of all the countries in the report, had the lowest percentage of middle-class adults. “Americans are more economically divided than many Western Europeans, with larger shares of adults living in households at opposite ends of the income distribution,” the author writes.

While the median disposable income among the American middle class remains relatively high, it has been falling behind, particularly compared to Luxemburg and Norway. The study also finds that average income increases from 1991 to 2010 across all U.S. households trailed those of most of western Europe.

The mission of the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality — known as the Stone Center — is to build and disseminate knowledge related to the causes, nature, and consequences of socio-economic inequality. The center houses the U.S. office of the Luxembourg Income Study, a renowned cross-national data archive.

Submitted on: MAY 12, 2017

Category: Diversity | Research Studies | Stone Center