Middle class still shrinking

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Also this morning, the census bureau will report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage. Researchers expect these 2006 figures will show the middle class is continuing to shrink. Jeremy Hobson has a preview.


Jeremy Hobson: Ron Haskins at the Brookings Institution breaks the nation into three income categories: bottom, middle and top.

He says trends from previous census reports show those at the bottom and at the top tend to stay there, and the middle class is getting smaller, as people make more money.

Ron Haskins: Anybody over about $75,000 has done very, very well. In the middle, there has been progress, but at the bottom, there's been a lot of stagnation.

For some, that means living below the poverty line. But even if you're doing just fine yourself, these numbers matter, says Doug Besharov at the American Enterprise Institute.

Doug Besharov: Everyone needs to have a good job otherwise we're supporting them. The welfare of the country depends on all of us doing well.

One area where low income Americans probably aren't doing well is health care. Ron Haskins says he expects the census figures will show an increase in the number of uninsured.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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