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Three striking findings for 2016 from Pew Research

All credit here to Pew Research Center on its assessment of 16 interesting trends in 2016. Here’s three that seemed particularly worth mulling, but there’s more where this came from.

1. The middle class is shrinking in nearly all U.S. metropolitan areas—with a greater share of Americans being pulled into upper-income tiers

Here’s a finding that calls into question whether having more people pulled into an upper-income class than those falling into a lower-income class is a good thing when it means that the middle class is plummeting overall (i.e. the country is becoming increasingly more polarized). It’s worth noting in the chart below that many of the places where the middle class decreased most were on the coasts (in the Northeast and California, in particular).

From 2000 to 2014, the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally. However, the share of adults in the upper-income tier increased more than the share of adults in the lower-income tier in 119 of the 229 areas examined.

U.S. map showing the percentage point change in middle-income households by metro area. Far more areas fell into the 0 to -5 or more decrease in the middle class than into a rising middle class.

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