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Americans Are Still Well Off Compared to Rest of World, Despite Falling Income

Jul 09, 2015

Much has been made of the death of America's middle class in recent years, but on a global scale, it's still thriving. A recent Pew study says that as of 2011, a whopping 88% of Americans qualified as either upper-middle income or high income on a global scale.

Those impressive figures remain in spite of the fact that the median income of U.S. households has dropped nearly $4,000 from its 2001 level of $55,526 (in 2013 dollars). Fifty-six percent of Americans still live on more than $50 per day, far exceeding the global average of 7%. The study notes that the high standard of living in the U.S. may skew perspective on poverty and the middle class:

This is not to say that the U.S., along with other advanced economies, does not struggle with issues of income inequality and poverty. But given the much higher standard of living in the U.S., what is considered poor here is a level of income still not available to most people globally.

According to the study's author, Rakesh Kochhar, the analysis takes into account cost of living, which is likely to be far higher for Americans than for most others around the world.

Read the full study and analysis here.

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