© Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that honor, and many Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the country. “Things are pretty flat,” said Kathy Washburn of Mount Vernon, Iowa. “You have mostly lower level and high and not a lot in between.”
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times
analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada - substantially behind in 2000 - now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
The numbers, based on surveys
conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons
for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.
Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several - including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden - is much smaller than it was a decade ago.