The Middle-Class Crunch:

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from The New York Times,

A Look at 4 Family Budgets

Examine the typical American family’s monthly budget, line by line, and a larger story emerges about how the middle class has evolved.

What it means to be middle class hasn’t changed much — there’s a steady job, the ability to comfortably raise a family if you choose to, a home to call your own, an annual vacation. But what it takes to achieve all that has become more challenging.

The costs of housing, health care and education are consuming ever larger shares of household budgets, and have risen faster than incomes.

Most people believe that they belong somewhere in the middle class, but its boundaries and markers of it are subject to interpretation.

Based on income alone, about half of all adults in the United States fall in this category, according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research group. It defined being middle class as having an annual household income from about two-thirds to double the national median, which translates to roughly $48,000 to $145,000 for a family of three (in 2018 dollars).

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