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Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center

 

The Pew Research Center came out with a study showing the American middle class is shrinking. This is true in many metropolitan areas, including Rochester.

Between 2000 and 2014, the Rochester region’s share of lower income people went up from 22.2 to 25.2 percent. The share of middle income people went down from 59.6 to 56.7. The share of upper income people remained the same, down only .2 percent to 18 percent.

Here is how middle class is defined, nationally:

 

pew1

 

In Rochester, as in most Rust Belt cities, middle income people account for a majority. Income inequality is not as pervasive as it is in some major cities.

When you look at household income, you see big losses for Rochester individuals and families. These dollar figures are adjusted for 2014. The median household income for middle class people was $8,000 more in 1999. The median household income for everyone is down nearly $10,000.

Rochester:

 

1999 Median 2014 Median
All Lower Middle Upper All Lower Middle Upper
72,711 26,996 79,587 178,250 63,220 26,016 71,278 159,074

 

The losses in Rochester were worse compared to New York State as a whole:

 

1999 2014
All Lower Middle Upper All Lower Middle Upper
60,868 23,974 76,377 193,166 59,844 21,834 73,227 175,267

 

Rochester is not alone. Pew finds:

The decline in household incomes at the national level reflected nearly universal losses across U.S. metropolitan areas. Middle-income households lost ground financially in 222 of 229 metropolitan areas from 1999 to 2014. Meanwhile, the median income of lower-income households slipped in 221 metropolitan areas and the median for upper-income households fell in 215 areas.

The trends in income point to economic pressures on the middle class, including in areas where it still holds a large share of the population.

 

Brookings Institution

Brookings Institution

 

We know Rochester has a high poverty rate. But how much money do the rest of the city’s residents earn?

The Brookings Institution ranks Rochester 475th among U.S. cities on equal distribution. Nearly two-thirds of Rochester households have incomes of $41,109 or less. That compares to 40 percent in the United States.

Rochester comes close to the national rate of households earning between $41,110 and $65,952. The middle income bracket makes up 20 percent in the country and 18.6 percent in Rochester.

Rochester comes up way short on households earning more than $65,952 or more. Nationally, they make up 40 percent of households. In Rochester, they make up 19 percent of households.

What does this tell us? The City of Rochester doesn’t have a large middle class. It also doesn’t have many wealthy people. It’s got a sizable chunk of households – 25 percent –  that earn between $21,433 and $41,109. Many of these households likely have lower-wage workers.

Income distribution has implications for housing, schools, shopping, transportation and more.

 

Links of the Day:

 

– A new contract makes Buffalo cops live in city for 7 years.

– Goodbye, Urban Indoor Mall. Hello, Downtown Outlet Center!

– Once seniors are too old to drive, our transportation system totally fails them.

– The aspirational RSVP: Saying you’ll attend when you don’t plan on it.