The economic wounds of the financial crisis and Great Recession are evidently deeper than anyone has realized, despite the fact that nearly every economic indicator is showing significant progress. Case in point: the shrinking middle class. We’ve been hearing about how the middle class has been in trouble for years now, and while there’s been plenty of evidence to back those claims up, new data is showing just how deep and widespread the damage is.
Pew Charitable Trusts, through its Stateline blog, has found that the middle class has shrunk in every single state between the years of 2000 and 2013. Naturally, some states have been hit harder than others, but this new insight does indicate that there was truly nowhere to hide from the economic downturn that began in late 2008. The fall in middle class ranks was also accompanied by drops in median income in most states as well.
“Analysis shows that in all 50 states, the percentage of “middle-class” households — those making between 67% and 200% of the state’s median income — shrunk between 2000 and 2013,” Stateline writes. “The change occurred even as the median income in most states declined, when adjusted for inflation. In most states, the growing percentage of households paying 30% (the federal standard for housing affordability) or more of their income on housing illustrates that it is increasingly difficult for many American families to make ends meet.”
It’s definitely not a pretty picture.
But which states have seen their middle class households decline by the largest percentage? Read through the next few pages to see, as we’ve ranked the top five according to percentage drop in middle class households, based off of Pew’s data.