The Pew Center has released the results of new study that shows the decline of the middle class in America.  Using a combination of survey results, and data from the Census and the Federal Reserve they have drawn conclusions about the shrinking American middle class. 

85% of the self-described middle class say it is more difficult for them to “maintain their standard of living” than it was in 2000.  Of this group, 62% say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress; 54% blame banks and financial institutions; 47% large corporations; 44% the Bush administration and 34% the Obama administration.

In 2011, the middle class made up 51% of the population; in 1971 that number was 61%.  Both the upper income and lower income groups have grown.

But it is the amount of money that the each group holds that is staggering.

The upper class now rakes in 46% of the nation’s income; in 1971 that number was 29%.  The middle class holds 45%.  That number was 62% in 1971.  The bottom group takes in 9% which is down slightly from the 10% it took in ’71.

The middle class, who over the years has been predominantly optimistic, is turning the other way.  Less than half (43%) believe it will get better.  This is down from 51% in 2008.

This report is loaded with information about income in America and its distribution.  If you are looking for statistics that tell the financial story of American households as it is today, check out the link.