Middle Class Is Shrinking Nationally, But Portland Remains Average
The middle class is shrinking nationally according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
A family of three would be ‘middle class’ if it earned between $42,000 and $125,000 a year, according to the study.
Researcher Rakesh Kochhar said the percentage of middle class households nationally has dropped from 61 percent in the 1970s to about 50 percent now.
“Eugene and Medford have much larger shares of adults living in lower income households than the nation at large," Kochhar said. "The one area that is perhaps doing a little bit better than the national average is the Portland area.”
About 54 percent of Portland’s population is considered to be middle income.
But Bend saw Oregon’s biggest decrease, losing 14 percent of its middle class since 2000.
Kochhar said what’s happening is some middle class families are becoming upper class, while other families are slipping into poverty.
The study doesn’t take a stance on whether the shift is good or bad for society.
Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting