Over the past decade, the Great Recession, a housing market collapse, an unemployment surge and an anemic recovery have squeezed the middle class . An overwhelming majority of middle-class Americans (85%) say it is more difficult today than 10 years ago for those in the middle class to maintain their standard of living.

And it’s not just the middle class that feels this way. Some 82% of the self-described upper class and 87% of those who consider themselves in the lower class agree that it’s harder today for middle-class Americans.

Within the middle class, the downbeat assessment is shared by virtually identical proportions of men and women, Republicans and Democrats, the college-educated and those with a high school degree or less. However, there are some notable differences by race and age.

Middle-class whites are more likely than middle-class blacks to say it is harder today to maintain a middle-class lifestyle (87% vs. 79%). Also, those in the middle class who are ages 50 to 64—adults in their prime earning years—are more likely than those younger than 30 (91% vs. 81%) or older than 65 (83%) to say that maintaining a middle-class lifestyle is harder now than a decade ago. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.