Chances are that you believe you are in the middle class—nearly everyone in the United States does. Doctors and lawyers believe they are middle-class; so, too, do welders and waiters. In a 2015 Pew survey, only 10 percent of Americans said they considered themselves lower-class and just 1 percent thought they were upper-class.
Earnings have been flat or stagnant for many middle-class workers in the United States while health care, education, and housing costs are rising. Surveys show that Americans accurately perceive these pressures too and share a broad belief that the middle class is struggling. Seven in ten respondents to a Northwestern Mutual survey said that the middle class was staying the same or shrinking. One-third said the middle class might disappear entirely.