A middle-class upbringing does not guarantee a middle-class life. In fact, fully one-third of Americans raised in the middle class fall from that status as adults, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project
“A variety of factors, including family background and personal choices, influence downward mobility from the middle class,” explained Erin Currier, the project’s manager
The report, “Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking up from the American Dream,” found that:
- Divorced, widowed, or separated people are more likely to descend the economic ladder than those who are married.
- Men and women who continue their education after high school are less likely to be downwardly mobile.
- Nearly 38 percent of black men fall out of the middle, compared with 21 percent of white men. However, white, black, and Hispanic women are equally likely to drop out of the middle class.
- Among whites, 30 percent of women fall out of the middle class, compared with 21 percent of men. It was the only racial group studied in which women were found to be more downwardly mobile than men. Hispanic men and women were nearly equal, and black women were less downwardly mobile than black men.
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