Income Mobility

I’ve done some work on the Middle Class.  One of the things I’ve learned is that “The Middle Class” isn’t what people think it is.  Virtually everyone feels they are middle class.  Literally, virtually everyone thinks that.

How can that be?

I think it’s because we tend to think of the middle class as a state of mind rather than a set group of people.  A mindset rather than a demographic.

I think we see and think of the rich as those folks who are “stoopid rich”.  People that are able to afford jet planes and mansions.  People who have yachts and commercials and just have $MONEY$!

We see middle class as having the ability to continue to climb the income ladder.  Especially important in this classification is the ability to allow your children to have it better than you do.

So, if you’re not “stoopid rich” AND you continue to gather wealth, you are middle class.

And this is why I think that recent data from the Boston Federal Reserve Bank backs up my claim that virtually everyone feels they are middle class:

All income levels saw their incomes rise from 1994 to 2004.  In fact, the group that saw the largest gain was the lowest quintile; the poorest among us.

When family income was measured in 1994, those families were divided, by income, into 5 groups; richest to poorest.  10 years later, those SAME FAMILIES measured in 1994 were again measured and compared to themselves.  The poorest among us saw their wealth increase at a rate higher than any other group.

THIS is why virtually everyone feels they are middle class.  Because the American Dream is working.

For every one.

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