Believe it or not, almost seven out of ten Americans say they belong to the middle class. Going by one of the latest surveys conducted by a Milwaukee-based insurance company, Northwestern Mutual- most Americans are gradually finding their way back into an economy that was hit by the Great Recession, a decade back. But the very way how they view their finances has led them to adopt this strange belief! Overall, the following characteristics will help most to understand what is implied by the middle class in America. Also, this comes after the reports of 2749 adults have been generated from the survey.
The Undying Faith In The 'American Dream'
Adults who consider themselves a part of the American middle class, say that the very 'American dream' is quite an attainable goal, at least for most Americans. Close to 55% of the respondents said that the basic hallmarks of a successful life can easily be achieved.
Those who felt that this dream is still present are the ones who make up the wealthier lot! Surprisingly, almost two-thirds of Americans earning more than $250,000 believe in this dream.
Earnings Are Somewhere Between $50,000 To $125,000
Close to half of the respondents who feel they are middle-class folks earn more than $50,000, but less than $125,000. Peculiarly, others who fall either below or even above the mentioned income brackets also think of themselves as middle-class, but the percentage varies.
There is no way to determine whether the person who is seated next to a middle-class person in a theatre or pub is a high-net-worth individual or not. Almost everybody likes to think they aren't well-off.
Either Of Your Parents Were Lower Middle Or Middle Class
Out of 10, every 7 adults stated about their upbringing was in a rather middle-class or lower-middle-class fashion. While 44% mentioned that their parents were middle class, there was another 27% grew up in lower middle-class households. This is also a ground for providing some degree of stability between generations - but the issue has already attracted a lot of debate in the last few decades, thanks to the drastic changes in social mobility.
One research done by economist Raj Chetty revealed that poor children who were born in certain cities usually don't feel the need to climb up the socio-economic ladder. In comparison to their counterparts, they develop low self-esteem too. The local economy's strength and allied factors like the quality of public schools also propel this thought.
Staying In A Marriage, Or Simply Co-Living With A Partner
Around 74% of women and 85% of men having spouses or partners self-identified as middle-class people. There's no doubt that most financial pressures fall upon men, but both the sexes agreed that cohabiting with a partner increases expenses manifold. At the same time, they tend to fall back upon each other, knowing that the other might just help when needed.
On the other hand, only 57% of single men and 59% of women considered themselves as middle-class. Single Americans somehow experienced lesser financial security. And that's natural, since they hold up their complete financial picture of theirs, with no aid.
Optimism About The Economy
The overall population might offer mixed reviews, but the middle class is quite positive about how the economy might turn out in the future. They're also happier this year, at least when compared to 2016.
The self-described middle-class Americans constituted about 47% of the population, who believed in this. This finding from the survey was a tad unexpected though! The middle class and their optimism about the financial outlook is a surprise in every way, at least going by the records of upheavals. But then, it's good.
The American middle class normally doesn't exist. A couple of years back when the pandemic hit the world, most experts said America's middle class is 'hollow'. For any commoner, $160,000 might feel like a lot of money. But if you look at the larger picture, someone who earns this will still be desperate to have his or her emergency savings buckled up or the retirement account.
Most Americans seem to make good money and enjoy their raises, but then the cost of living increases. And to keep pace with inflation, if not the cost of living and not to mention healthcare and education costs, the middle-class people keep working really hard.