More on the Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

by Don Boudreaux on January 24, 2013

in Growth, Myths and Fallacies, Standard of Living

Thanks to James Pethokoukis for highlighting, and adding to, my and Mark Perry’s case against the trope of middle-class economic stagnation.

By the way, here’s a paragraph from the original draft of my and Mark’s WSJ essay that was deleted because of space constraints:

Consider that in 1975 81 percent of U.S. households earned less than $75,000 in annual income (in constant 2009 dollars); today (or 2009, the latest year for which data are available) that share is only 68 percent.  Put differently, nearly one-third of all households in America today have annual incomes of $75,000 or more, while in 1975 only one-fifth of U.S. households were so well off.  Drilling further down into the data reveals that for each of the Census Bureau’s five income categories below $75,000, the percentages of American households earning these relatively modest incomes have fallen, while for each of the two higher-income categories – $75,000 to $99,999, and $100,000 or more – the percentages of U.S. households earning incomes in each of these categories have risen.

And in this paragraph Mark and I didn’t mention the further point that the average number of occupants of American households fell by more than 10 percent between the mid-1970s and today.


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