Wednesday, January 18, 2012

30 Reasons that the U.S. Middle Class is Dying

Permaculture founder Bill Mollison has said, "The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children." What we have done as a country has truly jeopardized our children's future. This really upsets me and really concerns me at the same time. 
I am not an alarmist, and I rarely comment on economic issues, but I do believe in being aware of our surroundings.  This site has always been about me trying to place information that I think is important in one place so that I can reference it later. As I have done this, I have found that there are a lot of people who have the same interests and concerns as I do. 

Here is a summary of the concerns raised in the 30 Reasons that follows:
  • The number of good jobs continues to decrease.
  • The rate of inflation continues to outpace the rate that our wages are going up.
  • American consumers are going into almost unbelievable amounts of debt.
  • The number of Americans that are considered to be "poor" continues to grow.
  • The number of Americans that are forced to turn to the government for financial assistance continues to go up.

We must remember that nothing occurs in a vacuum. If you are above the middle class, this has the strong potential to drag you down with them. If you are below the middle class, this has the strong potential to knock you to the poverty level. I am very concerned with the future of this country. I am very concerned about what we have done with this great country and what it will mean for our children. 
This list has been floating around the internet for a few weeks or so. To be honest, I am not sure who originally compiled this information, but it is disturbing to say the least.  Each reason has a link to the source of the statistic. If you needed some more reasons to learn how to raise your own food, how to be self-sufficient, how to be sustainable, and how to be prepared in general for tough times, here are thirty:
#1 Today, only 55.3 percent of all Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 have jobs.
#2 In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people.  Only about 140 million of them are working.
#3 According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.
#4 Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
#5 According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in "the fretful zone just above it".
#6 According to that same article in the New York Times, 34 percent of all elderly Americans are living in poverty or "near poverty", and 39 percent of all children in America are living in poverty or "near poverty".
#7 In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.
#8 Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
#9 The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today.  Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.
#10 Many formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into ghost towns.  Since 1950, the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has declined by more than 50 percent.  In Dayton, Ohio 18.9 percent of all houses now stand empty.
#11 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%.
#12 The number of pages of federal tax rules and regulations has increased by 18,000% since 1913.  The wealthy know how to avoid taxes, but most of those in the middle class do not.
#13 The number of Americans that fell into poverty (2.6 million) set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty (6.7%) is at the highest level ever measured in the United States.
#14 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
#15 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.  During 2010 it got even worse.  Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
#16 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#17 Most Americans are scratching and clawing and doing whatever they can to make a living these days.  Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
#18 Food prices continue to rise at a very brisk pace.  The price of beef is up 9.8% over the past year, the price of eggs is up 10.2% over the past year and the price of potatoes is up 12% over the past year.
#19 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#20 The average American household will have spent a staggering $4,155 on gasoline by the end of 2011.
#21 If inflation was measured the exact same way that it was measured back in 1980, the rate of inflation in the United States would be well over 10 percent.
#22 If the number of Americans considered to be "looking for work" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.
#23 According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark at some point in 2012.  Most of that debt is owed by members of the middle class.
#24 Incredibly, more than one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps at this point.
#25 Since Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 14.3 million.
#26 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
#27 In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods".  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods".
#28 According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.
#29 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
#30 The poorest 50 percent of all Americans now collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.


  1. I think your blog does more to really address the problem than any politician has done.

    When it comes down to it, we all need food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care. Moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle can help us meet some of those needs for ourselves and each other rather than becoming completely dependent on "the government".

    We won't all keep the lifestyle some of us have been accustomed to, but I'll wholeheartedly jump in and work for everyone to have those basics.

  2. Here it is 2014

  3. What ate your thoughts on Agenda 21, as to self sustainability. ? So many rules and new Agencies...

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