The U.S. middle class has shrunk since 1971, while upper-income households have seen their incomes grow the most from 1970 to 2020, according to a new Pew Research Center report.
“In 1971, a whole lot more American adults were living in a middle-class household. That’s not the case today, as the middle class has shrunk in the last five decades — and the richest households have seen their earnings swell,” said business news portal Insider in its report of the Pew research results.
In 1971, the share of adults living in a middle-class household came in at 61 percent. That share shrank steadily from 1971 to 2011, and has remained static since. In 2021, it was at just 50 percent.
The share of adults in upper-income households rose from 14 percent to 21 percent during the same period; meanwhile, lower-income households have seen their share grow from 25 percent to 29 percent.
The richest households saw the biggest bump of incomes. From 1970 to 2020, upper-income households’ incomes grew by 69 percent. The shrinking middle class saw their incomes grow by 50 percent, while lower-income households saw incomes grow by 45 percent, according to the report.