U.S. Middle Class Wealth Is Disappearing, Quickly

Being middle class in America is about more than just a salary or wages. It's about the economic security that is driven by wealth and the ability to access it and pass it on to the next generation.

Earlier this year, the average real wealth of the American middle class peaked at $393,300, the highest it has ever been.

Although this consumer class is better placed to absorb the fallout of a looming recession, reports show they are also more nervous about their financial cushions and the economy than they have ever been.

Reports show that the average middle-class adult in America at the peak earlier this year was more than $120,000 wealthier than when Donald Trump took office in 2017. The gains that the middle class experienced fueled the pandemic boom that resulted in an uptick of home renovation projects and helped families to weather the rising consumer prices.

Berkeley economists estimate that since the March peak, the “middle 40%”-the members of the population whose wealth falls in the 50th to 90th percentile-have seen their wealth fall around 7%. That hit alone is the biggest since the 2007-09 global financial crisis.

Consumers are likely to cut back on their purchases as financial situations become more strenuous. Despite the fact that there are many societal issues on the ballot, economic anxieties are on the forefront of voters' minds going into the midterm elections.

The Harris Poll of middle-class voters found that while 86% say their personal financial situation is good right now, 1 in 5 expect things to get worse in the next year. Twice as many say they feel either stressed or anxious about the current state of the economy as those who reported feeling calm.

Only around 26% of respondents reported feeling optimistic. There is a partisan divide to this issue as well. Republicans are reportedly more stressed and are less optimistic about the economy than their Democratic counterparts.

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