It's not clear if we are dealing with inflation adjusted numbers here, but these facts sound pretty good. No mention of the poor, but for middle and upper middle the last 30 years have been good.
Since the 1970s, most families have experienced a rapid growth in their income and wealth; the average family -- for the first time ever -- has a net worth of more than $100,000, say Stephen Moore and Lincoln Anderson (Wall Street Journal).
Research shows that Americans are experiencing an astonishing pace of upward income mobility, say Moore and Lincoln:
* In 1967, only one in 25 families earned an income of $100,000 or more in real income; today, one in six do.
* The percentage of families with an income of more than $75,000 a year has tripled from 9 to 27 percent.
* The percentage of families with real incomes between $5,000 and $50,000 has been falling as more families move into higher income categories -- the figure has dropped by 19 percent since 1967.
This shows that upward mobility is the rule, not the exception, in America today, says Moore and Lincoln; therefore, the middle class is not shrinking, as previously thought, but is getting richer:
* In 1967, the middle-class income range was between $28,000 and $39,500 a year, now that range is between $38,000 and $59,000 a year.
* The upper-middle class is also richer; today, those falling within the 60th to 80th percentile in family income have an income range of between $55,000 and $88,000 a year, which is about $24,000 a year higher than 1967.
* In 2004, the total net worth of Americans rose to $50 trillion and the median household income was estimated at $105,000; that's nearly double the median family-wealth level of 1983 and triple the level in 1962.
Source: Stephen Moore and Lincoln Anderson, "Great American Dream Machine," Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2005.
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