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Just the Facts :: How the Middle Class Got Stuck

Surging prices, stagnant wages, spiralling debt. This is what stuck feels like.

[PDF poster version below.]

The price of things we need keeps going up.

 

 

 

We're more productive than ever but wage-earners—especially those in the lower half—are getting little of the benefit of all this hard work.

 

 

 

We're going deeper into debt just to stay afloat. Massively so since 2001. The U.S. savings rate is at zero for the first time since the Depression. Home equity is at an all-time low.


YES! MAGAZINE GRAPHICS

 

Sources:

RENT PRICES PER MONTH FOR ALL URBAN CONSUMERS: ::
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index, “Rent of Primary Residence.” Accessed 1 July 2008.
www.bls.gov/cpi/


FOOD PRICES PER MONTH FOR ALL URBAN CONSUMERS: ::

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index. “Food.” Accessed 1 July 2008.
www.bls.gov/data/


GASOLINE PER GALLON: ::

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index, Average Price Data. “Gasoline, unleaded regular, per gallon.” Accessed 3 July 2008.
http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ap


PRODUCTIVITY AND REAL WAGES: ::

OECD. OECD Stat Extracts. Variable "Labor Productivity, Constant Prices." Accessed 14 July 2008.
http://webnet.oecd.org/wbos/index.aspx

Economic Policy Institute. "Hourly wage decile cutoffs for all workers, 1973-2005 (2005 dollars)." Accessed 25 June 2008.
www.epi.org/content.cfm/datazone_dznational


DEBT – CREDIT CARD AND MORTGAGE: ::

United States Federal Reserve. "Tables Based on Internal Data - Family holdings of debt, by selected characteristics of families and type of debt, 1989-2004 surveys." Accessed 11 July 2008.
www.federalreserve.gov/PUBS/oss/oss2/2004/scf2004home.html


UNDERGRAD TUITION/ROOM/BOARD: ::

National Center for Education Statistics. "Average undergraduate tuition and fees and room and board rates charged for full-time students in degree-granting institutions, by type and control of institution: 1964-65 through 2006-07." Accessed 24 June 2008.
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp


HEALTH INSURANCE: ::

Fronstin, Paul. The Commonwealth Fund. "Workers' Health Insurance: Trends, Issues, and Options to Expand Coverage." March 2006.
www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=36224


 

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Research and graphics by Noah Grant, Layla Aslani, and Doug Pibel on Just the Facts for Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Noah is a YES! editorial assistant, Layla is a YES! editorial intern, Doug is YES! managing editor.

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