The Middle Class Is Doing Just Fine, and in the sense that the economic improvement is ongoing, so has every quintile of the economy. Seem counterintuitive? Only if one relies on the media, rather than looking into the matter. And, of course, it is easy to subscribe to the view if one is already allied with the Left-wing calumny of America. 1. Poverty is hardly increasing, rather the definition is an example of moving the goalposts. Poverty means no home, no heat, no food. It doesnt mean the condition of having an older car than another. 2. What is missed and not by accident, is that the disappearance of the middle class is largely due to fact that the percentage of households with real incomes higher than $50,000 increased from 24.9% in 1967 to 44.1% in 2003, and the percentage with real incomes lower than $35,000 fell from 52.8% in 1967 to 40.9% . More On The Certain Equality Of Reaganomics - Forbes a. Try this. Draw the bell curve, with a line vertical line in the middle. This was the middle class. Now draw the bell curve, and construct the line to the left on the uphill side of the curve. See how the population indicated by the line includes a smaller group? Its because more folk have higher incomes, not because of lesser. b. in 1967 only one in 25 families earned an income of $100,000 or more in real income, whereas now, one in six do. The percentage of families that have an income of more than $75,000 a year has tripled from 9% to 27%. But it's not just the rich that are getting richer. Virtually every income group has been lifted by the tide of growth in recent decades. Great American Dream Machine 3. Lets be clear: the broadest and most accurate measure of living standard is real per capita consumption. That measure soared by 74% from 1980 to 2004. U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis So, if folks are buying more....how could they be making less? a. A study of table 7.1 would show that between 1973 and 2004, it doubled. And between 1929 and 2004, real per capita consumption by American workers increased five fold. The fastest growth periods were 1983-1990 and 1992-2004, known as the Reagan boom.