After a four-decade reign, the middle class is no longer chief of the classes in the U.S., signaling income growths across all economic levels, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

About 50 percent of American adults – 120.8 million of the 242.1 million Americans– live in middle-income homes, while the upper-income homes, 21 percent of Americans, and lower-income homes, 29 percent of Americans, make up the remaining households, per a 2015 Pew Research analysis of government data.

“In this study, which examines the changing size, demographic composition and economic fortunes of the American middle class, “middle-income” Americans are defined as adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median, about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014 dollars for a household of three,” according to the Pew report.

The data, which examines government data from 1971 to 2015, shows that the middle class has shrunk from 61 percent in 1971 to 50 percent in 2015.

The far edges of the income spectrum both saw the most growth. The lowest-income tier grew from 16 percent in 1971 to 20 percent in 2015, while the highest-income tier doubled – from 4 percent in 1971 to 9 percent in 2015.

The calculator below, developed by Pew Research Center, offers an interactive way to determine where individuals fall on the income scale, considering household income, family size, race, education, age and marital status.


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