Pew Research Center just released a new study that shed light on how America’s economic problem in the metropolitan area have opened the door for political polar opposites Donald Trump (R- NY) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT).
It’s generally agreed-upon that the strength of a country is based on a strong middle class. This is why Pew Research Center’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s data is troubling, since it shows a dramatic decrease of the American middle class in the 21st century.
Pew’s definition of “middle-income” households were those with income that fell between two-thirds and twice the national median household income. The study focused on households in the metropolitan area, and adjusted for household size and for the local cost of living.
Between 2000 and 2014, a staggering 203 out of the 229 metropolitan areas analyzed had a decline in the percentage of their populations that fell in that middle-income range.
Business Insider published a map showing those shifts. The darker the red in each metro area, the more the middle-income group shrank as a percentage of that metro area’s population.
The few blue metro areas represent those that saw an increase in the middle-income share.
Pew’s study noted that the decline in the middle class is associated with an increase in inequality in the US. The map of the dwindling middle class may also indicate a rise in anxiety throughout the American public.
This, in turn, can help explain the surprising rise and popularity of such far end of the spectrum candidacies as the foreign- and Muslim-opposed Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In fact, the decline of the middle class in America’s cities is one of the biggest political and economic problems of the 21st century. Pew addressed the severity of the metropolitan area problem in the report:
“The current and future status of the American middle class continues to be a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. Moreover, new economic research suggests that a struggling middle class could be holding back the potential for future economic growth.”
While closing borders for people and trade may seem like a safe solution for some voters in order to strengthen the country, it’s obvious for others that closing the gap between the rich and the poor will help restore the middle class, and thus create a strong foundation to truly make America great again.
Featured image screengrab from YouTube.