Americans believe that having a secure job is by far the most important requirement for being in the middle class, easily trumping homeownership and a college education.
Nearly nine-in-ten adults (86%) say a person needs a secure job to be considered part of the middle class, while just 45% say the same about owning a home, 37% about a college education and 28% about financial investments.
Of the five items tested in the survey question, the only other one seen as essential to a middle-class lifestyle by a majority of the public: health insurance. For many Americans, health insurance comes through one’s job. Two-thirds of adults say it’s an essential ticket to a middle-class life.
The public’s view about what it takes to be in the middle class appears to have changed dramatically over the past two decades. In a 1991 nationwide Time/CNN/Yankelovich survey, seven-in-ten respondents said homeownership was essential to being in the middle class, while just one-third said the same about having “a white collar job.” Read More