How America's Middle Class Is Shrinking

The middle class is no longer the biggest income group in the US by aggregate income.

The middle class in America has shrunk over the last 50 years.

The middle class remains the largest group of Americans

Income group

By number of people

Katharina Bookholz, Statista, explains below


The same cannot be said about the total income they earn


Between 1970 and 2021, middle-class income in the United States dropped dramatically, falling from 62 percent of the total to only 42 percent.

The same time period,

The aggregate income of high-income Americans has increased from 29 to 50%

The middle class in America is less than half the size of the class with high incomes.

More infographics can be found at


Pew Research Center Report

This number also shows the

Unmarried women, single-earner households and unmarried women are less likely to be middle class.


According to the report, anyone who earns between two-thirds and twice the U.S. average household income is considered middle class.

In America, both the low-income and high-income classes are growing, putting pressure on the middle class.

A disturbing trend that is only affecting the

Low income class

Despite its size increasing, the share of total income that it contributes to has decreased.

Earnings of low-income classes decreased from 10 percent in 1970 to 8 percent by 2021.

Black and Latino Americans still have a higher percentage of low-income people than whites - around 40% of each group compared to just 24% of whites.

The report shows that Latinos have made moderate gains, while Black Americans are making the largest upward movement. The Black middle class has barely expanded, while the Black high-income class, which has more than doubled its size over the last 50 years, seems to have benefited from the gains. The white low-income class has grown over the last 50 years, but is still much smaller in comparison to the Black and Latino lower income classes.

In America, those with lower educational levels are the ones who have seen a lot of downward mobility.

It includes those with only a secondary school diploma and those who did not finish college.