Economists Remain Worried About Slow-Growing Middle Class

Pew Trusts’ Stateline project explored the growth of the middle class by state, finding that while many states saw growth between 2016 and 2017, only Nebraska and the District of Columbia have a middle class as large as in 2000. Maine was one of the states where the middle class (defined as households earning between 66% and 200% of the state’s size-adjusted median household income) grew between 2016 and 2017, to 53.8 percent of all households. The report concludes with reminders that growth in the middle class should be interpreted as a positive indicator only if its growth is because people are moving up from lower-income groups, and not falling from higherincome ones; it is unclear whether this is the case for Maine.