Based on income alone, nearly half of all adults in the United States can be considered "middle class," complete with the reassurance of a steady job, the ability to raise a family, and the comforts of owning a home. And yet, for many, because of structural forces reshaping the finances of the American middle class, the margin between a stable life and a fragile one is narrowing.
The new edition of Middle-Class Meltdown in America: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies tells the story of the struggling American middle class by weaving together sociological and economical research, personalized portraits and examples, and a profusion of current data illustrating significant social, economic, and political trends. The authors extend their analysis to include the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the effect of race and ethnicity, as well as the ever-increasing costs of housing, health care, and education.
In clear, accessible writing, the authors provide a sociological and balanced understanding of the causes and implications of increasing middle class precarity. Middle-Class Meltdown in America is particularly well-suited for courses in sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and American Studies.
1. The Illusion of Middle-Class Prosperity 2. The Struggling Middle Class 3. The Income/Credit Squeeze 4. Robbing the Productivity Train 5. Where Did All That Credit Come From? 6. From Washington to Wall Street: Marketing the Illusion 7. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 and the COVID Recession of 2020-2021: The Illusion Exposed 8. The Consequences of Middle-Class Meltdown 9. What Can We Do? A Manifesto for the Middle Class Appendix