Mississippians, it is not just your imagination.

The middle class in the United States is becoming increasingly poorer as 85 percent of those surveyed reported that in the last decade it was more difficult to afford the lifestyle of the middle-class. This is according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends Project. In fact, the survey shows that for the first time in several decades going back as far as World War II, families considered middle-class completed the first decade of the 21st century with lower incomes than were reported ten years prior.

It is not surprising the personal bankruptcy filings have reached record numbers in recent years as more and more Mississippians and Americans around the country are feeling the squeeze of higher prices and lower wages. The survey found that after adjusting for inflation, the median household income fell by almost $3,500 for a middle-class family of three and that the net worth of a median household dropped 28 percent. According to an executive vice president at Pew Research, a rising standard of living as part of the American dream is no longer a reality for many.

For the middle-class, the last decade appears to be a "lost decade" since it has been 11 years since we have seen a peak in median household incomes, and that includes the beginning part of the decade as well, not just since the recession began five years ago. While the middle class is shrinking more and more wealth is concentrated at the top upper-income households, which climbed 87 percent to just under $575,000 since 1983. The median household net worth rose just 2.3 percent for middle-class families in the same period.

No, it is not just your imagination if you are struggling financially even though you are working harder than ever. So who does the middle class think is to blame for the drop in income and net worth among the middle class? Congress was blamed by 62 percent of responders. Banks received 54 percent of the blame, while the administration of George W. Bush received 44 percent of the blame, ten percent more than President Obama's administration. Thankfully, there are still options available to help struggling families climb out of mounting debt problems in the form of personal bankruptcy protection.

Source: USA Today, "Study: Middle-class poorer, earned less in 2000s," Tim Mullany, Aug. 22, 2012

Our law firm provides personal debt relief and bankruptcy services, to learn more visit our Mississippi debt relief solutions page of our website.

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