cited as evidence that middle Americans are being squeezed out ( Time, 8/10/ 88)).
In "objective" terms, such as the proportion of the population that falls within certain "middle" incomes--there is some evidence that the middle class is indeed declining ( Horrigan and Haugen, 1988). But if such a phenomenon is occurring, it is not yet apparent in people's self-classifications (Table 12.17). Fluctuations in the results of pre-1950s polls make trend-spotting somewhat difficult; some of the high figures in the 1940s may be the result of polls' biases, but it may also be that optimism in the immediate post-World War II years led an unusual number to call themselves middle or even upper class. In any event, the self-reported middle class seems to have been at its nadir in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The 1960s witnessed a more than 10 percent increase. Since then there has been little change, but the most recent measurements in no way indicate a declining middle class.
The results of an alternative wording (12.17) are too few to draw conclusions about trends, but they do indicate that individuals in the broad middle class do not see themselves as an undifferentiated mass. One can speculate that there will be no rapid decline in the percentage of those calling themselves middle class, but that there may be some changes of feeling about one's place within that broad classification.
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