Holding Fast To A Dream: Estimating The Probabilities Of Class-Vulnerability And Class-Security Among The American Middle Class
The middle class has become increasingly vulnerable over the last 30 years for a number of reasons, which in part has compromised their capability to hold on to the American Dream. Still, we know very little about what proportion of the middle class is vulnerable at any given particular time and we know even less about why or even if these proportions fluctuate over time. Utilizing household and family data from the (PSID), my thesis uses survival analysis to assess the odds of experiencing class-vulnerability and/or class-security among the American middle class. My results indicate that through major stages of adulthood, over 90 percent of individuals in the middle class will experience either economic event. Results also indicate that the risk of experiencing either economic event is dramatically stratified by race and education. While income may purchase a ticket into the middle class, this research shows that the lack of economic assets or net worth is leaving the American middle class very vulnerable to economic shocks.
American Dream; Wealth; Middle Class
Hirschl, Thomas A
Lichter, Daniel T.
M.S., Development Sociology
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis