04/10/2008 - Offering the gloomiest assessment of economic well-being in close to half a century, a new survey has found that most Americans say they have not made progress over the past five years as their incomes have stagnated and they have increasingly borrowed money to finance their lifestyles.
As many Americans struggle with declining housing values, increasing food and energy prices and growing unemployment after a long period of flat wages, well over half of respondents said they are either losing ground economically or are stuck in the same place, according to the report released yesterday by the Pew Research Center. Only four in 10 said they have moved forward in the past five years -- a record low, Pew says, and far off the record 57 percent who in 1997 said they had moved forward in the previous five years.
The squeeze is particularly tight for those who have low incomes and for the 53 percent of Americans who classify themselves as middle-class. Nearly four out of five middle-class adults say it is more difficult for people like them to maintain their standard of living. In 1986, fewer than two of three middle-class people shared that opinion.
Read the full article Can't Get Ahead, Hard To Keep Up on the Washington Post's Web site.
Read the report Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life on the Pew Research Center's Web site.