Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Study Reveals The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class (Citi and Ford Foundations)
It hardly bears repeating that there has been massive change in the factors that affect US household finances in the last 30 years: jobs, wages, benefits, education, technology, and financial products. We all know things are different. But we don’t know enough about how these changes are playing out in the financial lives of lower- and middle-income households. And while these Americans’ financial lives have already changed, the products, programs, and policies intended to help them are still catching up.
The new barriers to economic stability and upward mobility are not trivial. Recent data show that wages are stagnant for a wide swath of earners, annual income volatility has risen markedly since the 1970s, economic mobility varies widely, wealth inequality is increasing, and the middle class is shrinking. That’s in addition to the long-standing, deep inequalities of race and class that have stubbornly resisted efforts to abate them. . .
For the US Financial Diaries project, we followed 235 lower- and middle-income working American households for a full year (with funding from the Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Omidyar Network). We drew these households from four different locations around the United States (New York City, eastern Mississippi, greater Cincinnati, and south of San Francisco). . .