Will It Continue to Exist in the 21st Century?

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  1. gmwilliams profile image83
    gmwilliamsposted 8 months ago

    Will the middle class in the United States of America continue to exist, even thrive in the 21st century?  Why? Why not?  Present your answers?

    1. Credence2 profile image79
      Credence2posted 8 months agoin reply to this

      It may well not continue to exist, take a look at a web site or two, if you are not earning the high five or six figures you cannot afford a decent rental unit. This is based upon the average salaries for selected states and cities. It turns out that within a handful of states (10 or 11), West Virginia being amongst them, it is possible to earn the average wage and still afford to rent. The days of stepping away from home at 18 as a fully independent adult is for ever more people, a thing of the past.

      If such a trend continues, what was once a comfortable life style will be relegated to just so many tents on city thoroughfares.

      In spite of what conservatives say, the costs living has well exceeded wages and earnings for most people, that is why we are where we are.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

        I would disagree.  Recognizing that it is anecdotal, with an extremely small sample size, I still see my 3 grandchildren (18-21) living on their own.  All of my nieces and nephews are doing the same, and have for years.  You don't need to earn $80,000 per year to afford to live.

        Beyond that, I recall moving out of "home" at 19.  It certainly wasn't a "comfortable life style" then, no matter how it is portrayed to be.  People starting out in life cannot expect the luxuries of those that have spent years building a lifestyle, but that is far from living in tents on city thoroughfares.

        1. Credence2 profile image79
          Credence2posted 8 months agoin reply to this

          You may be right as I forget about the unlimited ingenuity of people to adapt to changing circumstances.

          I have seen this directly. Living on the Big Island of Hawaii, two of the most populated areas, Hilo and Kona are opposite sides of the Island.

          Hilo managed to absorb its younger people through a community sense of extended family arrangements and based upon the fact that the cost of living was lower than that of Kona.

          Kona was more touristy, and more like the problems experienced in Aspen Colorado. The people that worked at the I-Hop and Burger King received the minimum wage of just over 7.50 an hour. The costs of rents in Kona were horrendous. I asked a server how do they manage? She told me that they bundled up, 3 or 4 would share an apartment and split up the rent.

          But bringing that to today, my sister lives in Denver, has what one would consider a middle class job by the average standard in the Denver area, yet, were it not for a cousin, she would be on the street or in her car as she could not afford the rents in the city or those within a practical radius from it. That is different and not anything that I have seen before, with entry level wages, yes. But, middle class, no.

          You are not asking for luxuries in order to have a spartan, reasonably safe and clean place to live. In many of our urban centers and what is now true different over most of the country, that is becoming more difficult.

          Have you taken a look at the expensive housing market in Boise as of late?  Who can afford a mortgage with climbing interest rates except someone who makes high six figures as a Minimum?

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 8 months agoin reply to this

            I get that (the Denver thing); I have a cousin living in San Francisco.  He and his wife are both teachers, full time, and could not begin to afford rent if they didn't live in a home owned by his mother.  I also watched as the town of Ketchum, Id (Sun Valley resort area) had enormous trouble getting low paid help as the nearest (reasonable) rent was 50 miles away.  One answer is to move away from the massive concrete jungles, accepting that your skill set is insufficient to live there, and find work in an area more conducive to people.  I also lived next door to a guy (in the 90's) that commuted nearly 75 miles each way to a suburb of DC because he couldn't afford the cost of housing - that's another possibility.  This problem isn't really new - it's just spreading as cities grow from a city to a megalopolis and housing rises beyond anything reasonable because of the cost of land and high salaries offered to some of the residents.

            Yes, I've watched Boise as home costs have doubled and tripled in just a few years, and I can't imagine trying to buy a home here between home costs and Biden's cost of borrowing.  My own home has quadrupled in 20 years, with 2/3rds of that coming in the last 6 or 7 years.  Thank God I bought long ago.

            But luxuries?  Did you pay triple the cost of a landline when you were starting out, plus 50 hours of labor to buy the latest thing out, to have a phone?  Did you get that 70" TV?  Buy Starbucks on the way to work every day?  Did your monthly costs include internet and cable TV?

            1. gmwilliams profile image83
              gmwilliamsposted 8 months agoin reply to this

              To reiterate, the ONLY people who will thrive in the 21st century onward will be the upper middle & upper classes.  Even the solidly middle class is falling by the wayside, forget about those who are in the lower socioeconomic strata of society.   They have to accept societal crumbs & adjust to life as marginalized "citizens."    Yes, the future belongs to the affluent classes i.e. the upper middle & upper classes.   That is the NEW REALITY.

            2. Credence2 profile image79
              Credence2posted 8 months agoin reply to this

              I hear you, Wilderness.

              Telework may prove to be a solution, but it is no where near universal enough to the point where people are really free to work great distances from their employer. Are there enough jobs in these areas that may have lower costs of living? With obviously not enough to do, I check out living standards cost of real estate, rents, etc, around the country. What is new is that higher prices are everywhere. Two hundred miles east of Denver near Goodland and Colby, Kansas, people are still asking the US median prices for housing for sale. It gets cheaper in Cheyenne and Laramie Wyoming. But there is still a dearth of jobs compared with what is available in Denver and on the Front Range. If I had to work and hold a job, my options as to where I can live would still be limited based upon skill sets. Not everyone can work in the trades, which may be found everywhere. While living in Southern California, I saw that people would commute 100 miles or more to get to work and spend more time in negotiating the slow and go of LA freeways than they did to traverse the 100 miles. And that was possible only because of the relatively mild climate. I would not want to commute from Cheyenne to Denver on a daily basis.

              I think that what we are seeing is new, retreat to the hinterlands no longer provides the relief that it used to.

              As for luxuries, everything is relative, in 1976, as a young military officer stationed in Southern California, I took home between $600-$700 a month. Rent was $140.00, groceries about $100.00. I had no cable Tv or computer. Pacific Bell was my telephone service provider. The color tv I bought was a 13inch Sanyo for $350.00, which was such an exorbitant amount of money for me at the time, that I was on layaway.  I travelled about 10 miles to the military base each morning. While, I was never really poor, I hardly think that my life in the beginning was extravagant. We all made a lot less money, and relative to that money, living was still expensive. The standards for what was "luxurious" were different, but were there all the same.

              I have to ask the question, would I be able to survive on a Junior Officer's salary today under the same circumstances that I did in 1976, with the enormous increase in the cost of living over 46 years, did my relative salary keep up?

      2. gmwilliams profile image83
        gmwilliamsposted 8 months agoin reply to this



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