More Young Adults Identify Themselves As Lower Class [AUDIO]

From NJ101.5:

What class are you in? A new Pew Research Center survey finds a third of Americans say they’ve moved into the lower class over the past four years.

“It’s a big change for just a few years ago when 25% said they were in the lower class, today people self-identify themselves in that class at a rate of 32%” said Seth Motel, a researcher at the Pew Center.

The survey found not only has the lower class grown, but its demographic has shifted. People between the ages of 18 and 29 now place themselves in the lower or lower-middle class.

“Although the recession and the aftermath has hit the nation as a whole very hard, its hit the lower class especially hard” said Motel.

The survey also finds that hard times have been particularly hard on the lower class. Eight-in-ten adults (84%) in the lower classes say they had to cut back spending in the past year because money was tight, compared with 62% who say they are middle class and 41% who say they are in the upper classes.

Those in the lower classes also say they are less happy and less healthy, and the stress they report experiencing is more than other adults.

“They are stressed out about money and getting ahead, having and keeping a good job, saving for the future,” said Motel.

As they look to their own future and that of their children, many in the lower class see their prospects dimming. About three-quarters (77%) say it’s harder now to get ahead than it was 10 years ago. Only half (51%) say that hard work brings success, a view expressed by overwhelming majorities of those in the middle (67%) and upper classes (71%).

While the expectation that each new generation will surpass their parents is a central tenet of the American Dream, those lower classes are significantly more likely than middle or upper-class adults to believe their children will have a worse standard of living than they do.



4 responses to “More Young Adults Identify Themselves As Lower Class [AUDIO]

  1. I definitely do agree with the conclusion of the survey because I feel as though people in the past were more reluctant to acknowledging that they were part of the lower class. Many individuals have absolutely no idea as to what in fact is middle class. Over the last recent years, the economy has impacted so much that people cannot even act as if they are doing as good as they were before. Even though there is the notion that lower class individuals are less happy and less healthy, I do not agree with this in its totality. They are indeed more stressed out, but the thing is Americans are constantly putting a burden on themselves. Many people have absolutely no money but they still buy expensive things. I believe that if that same burden is past on to their children it will definitely affect their future. If only they would live below their means, then poverty might not be their problem.

  2. Thanks for chiming in on this, G. Indeed, we seem to be living in a time of deep uncertainty, when people’s sense of security and status is unclear and shifting, even collapsing. And, as I mentioned in class I think there’s some serious significance in the way that satire/”fake news” are increasingly indistinguishable from the official narrative. To be sure, the trend reported in The Onion, in a satirical way, is a *real* trend, documented in a recent Pew Study — there’s been a sharp drop in the number of Americans that identify as “middle class” (and a concomitant rise in those identifying as “lower class”). Diminished expectations are a reality, one which I’ve noticed most markedly in US college students. They/you seem to feel entitled to much less (namely, less public or social support ) in comparison with previous generations. For example, I’m really struck by your last comment: “If only they would live below their means, then poverty might not be their problem.” This austerity ideal (the Protestant ethic) is so deeply engrained in our culture. One could argue it worked so long as people were receiving decent incomes (above subsistence). These days, after decades of income stagnation for the vast majority of workers, leaving them with hardly any means, the prescription to live below one’s means effectively means no longer living. American households have managed to survive this, to make ends “meet,” only with the help of credit (for middle income households) or government assistance (for poor households).

  3. I completely agree with what you said in terms of living below there means effectively “means no longer living.” You are right. In an era of distress and uncertainty we find ourselves struggling for our own survivial. Basic human needs are often yanked from us. The right to live excludes many individuals. Aside from all of this, I personally believe that if someone can barely live with the job that they have, they should not try to live an expensive lifestyle. As I was reading this survey I was reminded of my high school. I remember going to school and seeing individuals who were poor, and yet their parents gave them all they wanted. I found that to be ridiculoud from the parents perspective. The reality is that now a days, not even those people with ambitions can dream about someday being someone they are not. The so called “American Dream” is nothing but a dream.

  4. I agree with each of these conclusions. The so-called “American dream” is really just a dream. Unfortunately, to have a dream you need to make it happen. No one can do that’s each individual has to take action into there own matters and make what’s they dream to be there reality. I definitely find that’s more individuals today are often more stressed and unhappy by the mere fact and amount of pressure that’s is coming from Every which angle we turn. I dont agree that all poor are unhappy and unhealthy totally falsefied. it is almost is looked at like a stereotype. What someone’s idea of poor can mean different to someone else, if you are rich you will succeed if you have money and have a household of working individuals then you are more likely to get better chances in your future in terms of work and having more experiences and if your poor then you live off the government and you have the least chance of getting ahead. To me I find this to be false. Lol I think it just depends on the individual l
    To make his or her own destiny.
    It is hard and kinda sucks that’s we as people have to be put a “label” and be ranked in a “class” in order to know where we stand. I feel that’s just creating more pressures!!! I mean think about it the poor wanna just to the next level and the middle want to get on top to be the “best of the best” . So, no matter what class wears label in individuals will never be happy because you want what you don’t have and yet those who do have it are still greedy and want more or just want nothing or no part. So, then everyday we each have added on some kind of extra stressor just to get ahead. Because just when yo think you have gotten just one step ahead along comes something or someone else that’s better then you.
    Most definitely we have stressed couldn’t agree more with motel statement in that’s we stress over trying to have a good job, making money, saving getting ahead in life !!! To get what we want we abide by this. Only I feel some want it more then others and funny how the ones who don’t have anything are the ones splurging and trying to keep up todate with the trendor coming off as with an appearance that they have money.
    Personally I am not sure where I would put myself in terms of class it’s hard to say today . But, at one point I was doing well for just me but I feel once you have a baby it changes your life around and you no longer want to be selfish. Being a mom I now am someone who can say i have stress an more because I want to give everything to my son. So I strive each day to get ahead just a little and save a little of each check just so he has something in his future. I’m not poor and I’m not rich that’s for sure lol but I live in a great area a grea apartment there’s food on the table every night I own a car I make my own money and pay for school so does that make middle class? Lol somewhat cliche no.

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