Shrinking Middle Class: Why Something Needs to Be Done

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By referring to a group's "Middle-Class" socioeconomic status, it is clearly a reference to households whose wealth falls between two-thirds and double of the household income known as the median in the United States." The upper class consists of households with incomes that reach twice the median income, while the middle class (lower income) households have incomes that are less than two-thirds of the median income. More weight on the definition of the middle-class in the society is based on their aspirations and goals in life than their income (U. S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration).

The middle class is of great importance not only in the American Economy but also economies of other countries. This is because of the countless contributions that they add to the economy. It is composed of a majority of the workforce and also provides a market for the country’s products, they are consumers. The national success has been driven by investors and entrepreneurs who have majorly been a composition of the middle class. The prosperity and the increase in productivity have been majorly driven by the skills and education of the middle class. It is the middle class that has kept the United States afloat regarding development, roads, infrastructure and other economic and industrial ventures (Ettlinger).

The Middle Class is Composed of Empowered Workers

The middle class, as stated above, makes the backbone of the country’s workforce. America arose from the wake of World War II and built itself ground up. For many years, more than thirty years, the United States enjoyed a lot of benefits resulting from the growing economy. The working population became more productive, and this increased their wages. They were represented by unions and by the end of World War II, standards of benefits, working conditions and wages were negotiated, and living standards of workers were improved. The unions made sure that other factors such as paid vacations, pensions and insurance had been factored into the worker's package. This resulted in the composition of the middle class, which provided a workforce in literally all the fields in the country’s economy.

The economy runs on the efforts of the middle-class group of the society. When one takes a look at the growth of the economy over time, it has been mainly spearheaded by the inventiveness and productivity of the country’s workforce. This is majorly composed of the middle class which has been growing since World War II as stated above (Ettlinger).

The Middle Class Grows the Economy, Not the Rich

The speech delivered by president Barrack Obama on 6th of December 2011 on the importance of the middle class expounded on its importance on economic growth. He argued that when the middle class is weakened, it results in an adverse effect on all aspects of the economy by stunting its growth. He referred to the periods between 1947 and 1979, a period where the middle class was receiving 54% of the total income (nationally) which in turn resulted in a 3% growth in the economy per year. This was being compared to 2.7% growth in economy between 1980 and 2010, a period during which the middle class’ income was at 46% of the national income. The reason behind this was that the middle class makes up a greater percentage of the national consumers and when their purchasing power reduces, the rate at which businesses sell their gods and services reduces. In the end, this affects the economy. The president insists that a strong middle class provides fundamentals and frameworks to innovations and entrepreneurship, providing backbones to businesses and economic growth as a whole (Madland).

The speech delivered by president Barrack Obama on 6th of December 2011 on the importance of the middle class expounded on its importance on economic growth. The president continues to state that the provision of better governance is a strong method of ensuring that the middle class is empowered. This removes the “high price” state of commodities which can only be afforded by the rich (Kochhar, Fry, and Rohal). The middle class is responsible for the provision of efficient government services which targets the whole society, which is the major goal for economic growth. The contrary happens when the strength of the middle class is weak. In this case, the operation of the government tends to favor the rich, where they use their power and influence to spend the resources of the public in ways that harm the taxpayer. The wealthy have resources and therefore tend not to care about the lower or middle-quality resources and services since they can afford the expensive and high quality. The middle class, on the other hand, will give more attention to the lower and middle-quality resources since they affect them directly. They will, in turn, offer good services which in the end strengthens the economy (Madland). As the nation grows with less middle-class population, investments are reducing at a high rate and so does trust. The population that makes the composition of the middle class will tend to make investments due to the feeling of support for goods that are regarded as public because of their feeling of sharing a similar fate with one another, even if benefits from the investments are not direct (Madland).

A Stronger Middle Class has More Concentration in Education

It is the middle class that we have entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators and many others. These can only be achieved when an individual has time and resources to get to that point of depending on his ideas, and this is where education comes in (Tarkhnishvili and Tarkhnishvili). During the last 30 years, the United States was secondly ranked in education spending in the high-income countries. The recent years have seen a reduction in education spending because of the middle-class decline. This has led to countries with stronger middle-class population gaining ground; examples are New Zealand and Sweden.

It is the middle class that we have entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators and many others. Investment in education means more money will be spent leading to the growth of the economy. When the middle class reduces in size, which is the case happening at the moment, the amount of investment in the education sector reduces since they are the main investors in the education sector (Tarkhnishvili and Tarkhnishvili). This is as a result of the determination of the middle class to become innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors.

There is no argument as to whether the middle class should be revived or not. The importance to any economy is of substance, and any country that targets to grow their economy should focus on improving their middle class. The benefits articulated in this document are just but a tip of the iceberg, there is a set of benefits that accompany a growing middle class of any economy.


The middle class is of great importance not only in the American Economy but also economies of other countries. From the arguments in this text, it is evident that something needs to be done to revive the middle class as the impact to the economy is seen and experienced. Personally, I would advise that endless efforts be put into the task as the middle class is an important component when it comes to building the economy.

Works Cited

Ettlinger, Michael. "The Middle Class and Economic Growth." Center for American Progress (2012).

Kochhar, Rakesh , Richard Fry and Molly Rohal. "America's Shrinking Middle Class: A Close Look at Changes Within Metropolitan Areas." Research. 2016.

Madland, David. The Middle Class Grows the Economy, Not the Rich. 7 December 2011. 25 October 2017.

Tarkhnishvili, Anna and Levan Tarkhnishvili. "Middle Class: Definition, Role and Development." Global Journal of HUMAN SOCIAL SCIENCE Sociology & Culture (2013): 20 - 31.

U. S. Department Of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. Middle Class In America. Washington DC, 2010. Document.

November 23, 2022

Sociology Economics



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