Upper Middle Class Growth Is Booming


Kelly McDonald Contributor
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It’s not just the one percent that is growing richer. According to the Wall Street Journal, the “upper middle class” has become much larger and wealthier since the 2009 recession.

Stephen Rose of the Urban Institute found that the upper middle class, which is wealthier than the middle class but does not earn as much as the elite one percent, has grown to almost 30 percent of the American population.

Rose said that people should stop focusing on the inequality between the one percent and the rest of the population. Instead, he says, people should discuss “the large inequality between the growing upper middle class and the middle and lower middle classes.”

Rose defines the upper middle class as families of three that earn between $100,000-$350,000 for a family of three, which is about five times the poverty level. Families like this make up about 29 percent of American society, while the ultra-rich make up about 1.68 percent.

The Pew Research center has found evidence that backs up Rose’s findings. According to Pew, “[the] middle class [is] shrinking from both ends — not just from families falling below the middle class, but also because of families rising out.

The gap between the upper and lower middle class is most evident when one examines the high cost of college tuition, and astronomical rent rates in wealthy neighborhoods, which are largely driven by the upper middle-class.

“The spread of $3,000-a-month apartments or a national average $32,000-a-year college tuition bill is not driven by heirs or CEOs,” the Wall Street Journal reports, but instead by wealthy professionals who comprise the upper-middle class.