More Americans Now Say They’re in the Lower Class

More Americans Now Say They’re in the Lower Class

The percentage of whites and Blacks who self-identify as lower class is more equal but Blacks are more satisfied with their lots in life.

Published September 11, 2012

There’s a saying that when the rest of America gets a cold, African-Americans get pneumonia. It’s most frequently used to describe economic and social disparities, but according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, just about everybody is feeling a little fluish these days.

As the nation struggles to recover from the economic crisis that took place in 2008, approximately one-third of Americans consider themselves to be in the lower-middle or lower class. While the percentage of Latinos and whites who now classify themselves as being in the lower class has increased by eight to 10 points, it is unchanged for African-Americans. The share of Blacks and whites, however, is now virtually the same, at 33 and 31 percent, respectively.

The survey also found that among lower-income Blacks, 69 percent said they’re happy with their housing situation and their education; 90 percent expressed satisfaction with their family lives; and 28 percent said they’re very happy with their lives. In addition, 56 percent said their children will be better off, compared to 63 percent of Latinos and 31 percent of whites.

But young adults, age 18 to 29, are far less optimistic: 40 percent self-identified as lower class, up 14 percent since 2008.


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(Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Written by Joyce Jones


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