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Shrinking Middle Class

Roger Walter

Reading — Advanced Level
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Activity

Fill in the blanks with the missing sentences to complete the article


Missing sentences
  1. middle class Americans live in households earning between two-thirds to two times the nation's median income

  2. is that more people are moving up the ladder than down

  3. steady decline of the middle class is yet another sign of economic polarization

  4. the middle class had been the core of the country

  5. these residents have struggled under stagnating wages and soaring costs

  6. is yet another sign of growing income inequality

Middle class Americans now comprise less than half, or 49.9%, of the nation's population, down from 61% in 1971, according to a new Pew Research Center report. For Pew, . In 2014, that ranged from $41,900 to $125,600 for a three-person household.

For decades, . A healthy middle class kept America strong, experts and politicians said. But more recently, . Presidential candidates on both sides of the political aisle are campaigning on ways to bolster the nation's middle class and increase opportunities to climb the economic ladder.

"The ", said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of research at Pew. Not only are more Americans shifting into the upper and lower classes, but they are moving into the higher range of the upper class and the lower range of the lower class. "This ", he said.

"There are fewer opportunities that place people in the middle of the income distribution," Kochhar said. One silver lining, however, . The ranks of the upper class are growing faster, according to Pew's research.


Discussion

Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below


  1. What is the situation of the middle class in the place where you live? Is it growing or shrinking?

  2. Why do you think a healthy middle class is the key to a strong society?

  3. What do you think will happen if the middle class shrinks greatly or even disappears (in the U.S. or anywhere else)?

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