Why Are So Many Households Unable to Cover a $400 Unexpected Expense?

Despite a strong economic recovery, about 40 percent of households in 2017 still said they would have trouble paying for a $400 unexpected expense. When households are operating under such a tight budget, building a nest egg for retirement can be challenging. This brief uses data from two Federal Reserve surveys – the Survey of […]

Low-Income Working Families: The Racial/Ethnic Divide

There is a large and growing economic divide among America’s 32.6 million working families,2 with whites and Asians at the top and other racial/ethnic groups falling behind. In 2013, working families headed by racial/ethnic minorities were twice as likely to be poor or low-income (47 percent) compared with non-Hispanic whites (23 percent)—a gap that has […]

Poverty Doesn’t Make You Racist

Since the 2016 elections, Democrats have endlessly debated how to reach the “white working class”—a demographically imprecise group alleged to have gone for Trump in big numbers. As multiple studies have shown, all white voters are in fact intensely polarized into two groups: one, open to progressive appeals, that recognizes racism is a reality in […]

America’s Middle Class is Vanishing. Nearly Half of Workers Earn Less than $30,000

The U.S. economy is booming. Republicans think President Trump deserves much of the credit for cutting business and individual tax rates combined with a deregulation agenda. And Democrats believe former President Obama rightfully deserves ownership for America’s recovery. Regardless of who gets credit, our newest visualization of net compensation levels for American workers demonstrates that the economy is indeed delivering, […]

The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy

Can rural America be saved? There are 60 million people, almost one in five Americans, living on farms, in hamlets and in small towns across the landscape. For the last quarter century the story of these places has been one of relentless economic decline. This is, of course, not news to the people who live […]