After more than four decades of serving as the nation's economic majority, the U.S. middle class is now matched in size by those in the economic tiers above and below it.
Just what is "economic inequality"? Depends on whom you ask.
The South continues to be home to many of America’s poor, though to a lesser degree than a half-century ago. In 1960, half (49%) of impoverished Americans lived in the South. By 2010, that share had dropped to 41%.
As a whole, Latin America enjoyed solid economic growth in the first decade of this century, with a fall in poverty, a decrease in income inequality and a rise of its middle class.
China and India both succeeded in slashing poverty from 2001 to 2011. But while that contributed to a rapidly growing middle class in China, it did little to increase the number of Indians who could be considered middle income.
The share of American children living in poverty has declined slightly since 2010 as the nation’s economy has improved. But the poverty rate has changed little for black children, the group most likely to be living in poverty.
During the first decade of this century, the world experienced a dramatic drop in the number of people living in poverty and a significant rise in the number who could be considered middle income, but the majority of the global population remains low income.
The first decade of this century witnessed an historic reduction in global poverty and a near doubling of the number of people who could be considered middle income. But the emergence of a truly global middle class is still far from fruition.
In asking people in 44 countries which of these they owned, we found notable differences between economically advanced nations, emerging markets and developing countries.
Trends in public opinion are in line with Obama’s agenda: The priority given to deficit reduction has slipped somewhat, while public support for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure has increased.