A peculiar story in the Financial Times today, and I have not yet been able to locate the underlying data:
Economic opportunity grew more slowly for the average American household than for either the upper or lower end of the income scale over the past two decades, according to an index compiled by Hope Street, a not-for-profit organisation.
The study, led by Andrew Tilton, an economist at Goldman Sachs, tries to estimate how expected lifetime income has evolved for different segments of the US population. It finds that the expected lifetime income of the median US household did increase, from $1.3m to $1.7m (after inflation) from 1985 to 2005, but less rapidly than for other groups.
The unimpressive performance by the middle class is partly the result of wage trends. In addition, the wealthy gained disproportionately from the rise in asset prices, while poorer Americans benefited from access to credit.
If poor Americans did better by virtue of borrowing, that says they weren’t doing better at all.