The group of Americans politicians most love pandering to is dying. Or at least seeing its membership decline.
Despite signs of a post-recession economic rebound, the Pew Charitable Trusts' Stateline crunched some numbers and found that the middle class is getting slimmer — particularly in two of Minnesota's neighboring states.
[jump] Between 2000 and 2013, all 50 states saw their number of middle-class households reduced. But as the Cheat Sheet points out, Wisconsin — destroyer of white picket fences — had the worst dip, with a 5.7 percent decrease. While the cost of living in dairy land has risen, the median income is down nearly $9,000 and people are devoting more of their wages to rent or mortgages. Writer Sam Becker lobs a chunk of the blame at Wisconsin's union-hating governor.
“There have also been many political battles that have not worked in the middle class’s favor,” Becker writes. “Governor Scott Walker gutted many of the state's unions — which has a big effect on the middle class — and all signs seem to indicate that he will aim to implement similar policies.”
Even with all its newfound oil money, North Dakota turns up on the sucks-to-be-you list. Following Ohio, North Dakota had the third worst middle-class decline, tumbling by 5.1 percent. While college and healthcare costs have gone up, Becker says the Nodaks are poised to turn it around.
In compiling its middle-class map, Pew defined middle class as those making 67 to 200 percent of the state's median income.
To be fair, Minnesota and Wisconsin have the same percentage of middle-class households, at 48.9 percent. But our 4 percent drop doesn't look quite as bad, plus on the median income scoreboard, Minnesota's $60,702 is more than $9,000 higher than Wisconsin's.
So, if you're cool with making more money and not buying beer in grocery stores, c'mon over, Sconnies.
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