Apparently being middle class is the place to be. Many Americans, regardless of their income, consider themselves middle class, according to a study just released by the Pew Research Center.

The Center surveyed people earning between $20,000 and $150,000. Some people earning those incomes and the amounts in between said they’re middle class.

It would seem that people with such widely ranging incomes could lead completely different lives. But maybe we’re a lot more alike than we think. Perhaps being middle class is a state of mind more than an income level.

And no matter what people have to meet their basic needs like food, shelter and transportation. We all feel some pain when the price of oil goes up.

The Center interviewed 2,413 people and 53 percent of them said they’re part of the middle class.

A majority (78 percent) of those interviewed said it has become harder for the middle class to get ahead in recent years but they don’t agree about the cause. Who to blame varies from the government to the price of oil to foreign competition.

On a sadder note, 25 percent of respondents said they haven’t moved ahead in life in the past five years, and 31 percent said they’ve fallen behind

As of 2006, real median household income has not returned to its 1999 peak, according to the study.

The bursting bubbles have taken their toll – the dot-com era, the stock market highs and most recently the housing boom. It’ll be interesting to see how history books explain these times.

To see the study go here:

Published: Apr 10, 2008