Yesterday we discussed the growth in high net worth households in America. Another study out this week shows the other side of the coin: The middle class, even though it's growing in terms of households, has been losing wealth in recent decades.
In early 2015, there were 120.8 million adults in middle-income households, according to a new analysis of government data by the Pew Research Center. However, the share of income held by middle-income families has fallen from 62 percent to 43 percent in 2015. The wealth held by lower-income households has remained stable, while the share of income held by upper-income households rose to 49 percent in 2015 from 29 percent in 1971.
The last 15 years have been particularly difficult for middle class households. Thanks to the collapse in housing prices and the Great Recession, their median wealth — assets minus debts — fell by 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.