Michael Snyder, Contributor
The middle class in the United States is being systematically destroyed, and nobody is doing much of anything to stop it. Our incomes are shrinking, our share of the income pie is at an all-time low, our jobs are being sent overseas, debt burdens have soared to unprecedented heights and millions of formerly middle class Americans have fallen into poverty.
America once had the largest and most vibrant middle class that the world has ever seen, but now it is rapidly being shredded. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for younger Americans. Today, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent. That is astounding. The truth is that there are not enough decent jobs for the hordes of young people that are entering the marketplace each year.
Once upon a time, a college degree was just about a guaranteed ticket to the middle class, but in 2011 more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed. Sadly, statistics tell us that the younger you are, the less likely you are to have a chance to live “the American Dream”. Nearly half the country already lives in a household that receives direct financial assistance from the federal government, and that percentage grows with each passing day.
We are rapidly being transformed from a country of middle class citizens into a country of impoverished government dependents. If dramatic changes are not made, the middle class in America will continue to decline every single year. What would our society look like if the middle class disappeared entirely at some point?
The following are 60 facts that prove that the middle class in America is being wiped out…
#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#2 As the middle class shrinks, more Americans than ever have been forced to become dependent on the federal government. Federal spending on welfare programs has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare. Welfare spending is now 16 times larger than when the “war on poverty” began.
Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years
. Overall, it has declined by over $4,000 during that time span.#4
The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs
for low paying jobs. 60 percent
of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent
of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#5 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the turn of the century.
#6 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
#7 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
#8 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all American households were “middle class” back in 1971. Today, that figure has fallen to 51 percent.
#9 In the United States today, 35 percent of all households live on $35,000 or less each year.
#10 One recent survey discovered that 85 percent of all middle class Americans believe that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.
#11 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
#12 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#13 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent. Today it is up to 154 percent.
#14 Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007. This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem has still not been solved.
#15 While debt loads for middle class families are going up, the net worth of those same families is going down. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#16 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 40 months in a row.
#17 Today there are about 3.25 million Americans that say that they want a job but that have not searched for a job in more than a year because they believe that it is so hopeless.
#18 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.
#19 The unemployment rate for African-Americans rose dramatically from 13.2 percent in November to 14.0 percent in December.
#20 The unemployment rate for Americans in the 18 to 29 year-old age bracket is 11.5 percent overall. For African-Americans in that age group, the unemployment rate is now up to 22.1 percent. Millions of young people believe that the system has totally failed them.
#21 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
#22 Last year, an astounding 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
#23 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
#24 According to the Tax Policy Center, the recent fiscal cliff deal will raise taxes more for those making between $30,000 and $200,000 a year than it will for those making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year.
#25 According to a Gallup survey, only 60 percent of all Americans say that they have enough money to live comfortably.
#26 One recent survey found that 63 percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. economic model is broken.
#27 Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes.
#28 Consumer debt in America has risen by a whopping 1700 percent since 1971.
#29 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#30 The average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011, and electricity bills in the U.S. have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.