Middle-Class Worse Off Now than a Decade Ago, Survey Says

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A survey released Wednesday shows there's no getting around the fact that the middle-class in the U.S. got slammed during the last decade.

Statistics from the Pew Research Center for Social and Demographic Trends found that middle-class families became poorer in the 2000s than the decade before, marking the first time that's occurred since World War II.

Eight-five percent of people who describe themselves as middle-class now say it's more difficult to maintain the lifestyle they grew accustomed to before the start of the 21st Century.

The numbers confirm their worries.  A median household income for three is now $69,487, down from $72,956.  Even more troubling, median net worth, which includes all assets such as a house, fell from $152,950 to $93,150.

Most of the problems occurred when the Great Recession began in late 2007 due to the housing bubble bursting and the subsequent near-financial meltdown in September 2008.  From that point on, it's been a long, hard climb back with respondents not holding out much hope of seeing the return of good economic times anytime soon.

The upper middle-class, on the other hand, has seen its fortunes rise.  Categorized as a family of three making more than $118,255, they now hold 46 percent of income in the U.S. compared to 29 percent a decade ago.  At the same time, the middle-class hold on the nation's income has shrunk from 62 percent to 45 percent.

As for who is to blame for the mess they're in, 62 percent of the middle-class blame Congress "a lot."

Meanwhile, 54 percent put the blame on banks and financial institutions, 47 percent say it's the fault of large corporations, 44 percent hold the Bush administration responsible, 39 percent say foreign competition is to blame and 34 percent put the onus on the Obama administration for their financial woes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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