The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Sad Milestone: Research Shows Middle Class Is No Longer Majority in America

Posted on January 07, 2016 at 06:43 PM

In a milestone for the declining fortunes of lower to middle income Americans, the majority of people in America are no longer in the middle class, according to data published at the end of 2015 from the Pew Research Center. The Center based its findings on extensive analysis of data from the US Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Affluent families in America now have 6.6 times the wealth of middle-income families, the biggest wealth gap in three decades, the nonpartisan research organization, the Pew Research Center reported.

According to the Pew Research Center, there were 120.8 million middle-income households in early 2015, compared with 121.3 million in lower-income or upper income households combined.

PLEASE RSVP FOR MAY 11-12, 2016 Economic Equality conference: The Economic Equality Coalition will hold a conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 11-12, 2016 to highlight the issues of economic inequality to the powers that be.

Key participants will be Members of Congress from both parties, the remaining viable Presidential campaigns as of the spring, and grassroots economic policy advocates from across the country.

Information on schedule, registration, and group hotel are below in this email.

Space is limited so RSVP as soon as you can to assure a place. RSVP by responding to this email at or calling us at (202) 360-6347. Registration information is below.

This is the first year since the Pew Research Center-a nonpartisan research institution–began tracking this data around 1970 that middle-income families were not the majority of Americans.

This trend in the division of Americans’ income has followed similar patterns for the last five years, indicating that the middle classes have not yet benefited from the economic recovery. Behind the decades-long shift is the increasing concentration of income and wealth among the affluent.

Pew analyzed extensive data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and reported that the share of adults living in the upper-income tier expanded more than lower-income households.The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and other major media outlets publicized the findings.

Summary of Pew Center findings:

The percentage of adults living in middle-income households fell to about 50% in 2015 from 61% in 1971.

The overall share of the upper-income tier increased to 21% from 14% over that period.

The percentage of lower-income households increased to 29% from 25%.

“High-skilled workers are increasingly favored, and if you’re of low skill, lesser education, you’re very likely to be left behind,” said Rakesh Kochhar, an associate director for research at Pew, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus and our national affiliate, the Economic Equality Coalition, will have a dialogue with the powers that be about the nation’s shrinking middle class and expanding lower-income population at the May 11-12, 2016 conference on Capitol Hill.

These issues are crucial in the 2016 presidential campaign and for both parties in Congress. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in January found that 47% of respondents considered reducing income inequality an absolute priority for the government to pursue this year.

The Pew report defined a typical middle-income household as one with three people that earned between $42,000 and $126,000 in 2014.

A lowest-income household of three made about $31,000 or less, and a lower-middle income household earned about $31,000 to $42,000 that year.

An upper-middle income household with three people made about $126,000 to $188,000 and a highest-income household lived on more than $188,000 in 2014.

The extreme ends of the income spectrum have grown the most. This year, 20% of American adults are in the very lowest income tier, up from 16% in 1971.

At the other extreme, 9% are in the absolute highest income tier, more than double the 4% share in 1971.

Among the demographic groups that stood out are people age 65 and older. This age group was the only one that had a smaller share in the lower-income tier in 2015 than in 1971, Pew found. That’s in part because more seniors are working, and Social Security checks are helping keep them afloat.

Last year, the median wealth of upper-income families in the U.S. ($639,400) was 6.6 times bigger than that of middle-income families ($96,500), up from 6.2 times in 2010. Upper-income families now have a median wealth level that is nearly 70 times that of lower-income families.

As the US economy has rebounded, the gulf between the wealthy and everyone else has widened.

Pew analyzed extensive findings from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which is conducted every three years.

Wealth inequality has gotten worse during the economic recovery. Income inequality has risen for decades, as pay growth for middle-class households has stalled.

On the other hand, after-tax corporate profits have expanded to the highest level as a share of Gross Domestic Product since 1929.

Pew’s analysis emphasized that wealth inequality is growing along racial and ethnic lines. This is of course bad news for highly diverse regions such as the Greater Delta Region, the Southwest Border, and other similarly situated populations.

Pew’s analysis provdes insight into why America’s now-five-years-plus-economic expansion is taking so much time to be felt by Americans.

In fact, the recent drop in gasoline prices is a significant source of what limited improvement is being made by those other than upper income groups.

In another important economic report, the Wall Street Journal cited New York University economics professor Edward Wolff’s paper that there has been almost no change in median wealth from 2010 to 2013-the middle-class has essentially been left out.

Research by Wolff and other economists have demonstrated that many features of the recovery and the Federal Reserve’s stimulus policies have benefited the rich over others.

Much of America’s wealth gains are due to the stock market, which has jumped nearly 200% since its lowest point in 2009. Stocks are primarily owned by the affluent.

Making things worse, many middle-class Americans have been losing assets such as homes or 401(ks) from selling them off to pay down debts.

As a result, upper-income families in the U.S. have seen their wealth rise. Middle-class Americans have not.

Early Registration for the May 11-12, 2016 Economic Equality Coalition (EEC) Conference in Washington, DC

Early registration for the May 11-12, 2016 Economic Equality Coalition (EEC) conference in Washington, DC is $125 for those who have not paid their dues or $100 for those who have paid their dues.

Space is limited for the May 11-12, 2016 conference, so to be assured of a place you will want to register soon.

To register for May 11-12, 2016 EEC conference, please send the $125 registration fees (or $100 for those who have paid their annual dues-

Please make out the check to Delta Caucus with a note “Registration for May 11-12 EEC” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

You register by paying the registration fees. To reduce unnecessary paperwork we do not use registration forms.

Early registration deadline is April 18, 2016. After that date registration fees go up to $150.

Annual membership dues are mailed to the Delta Caucus address in the amounts of $25, $50 or $100. Dues are required for conference attendees.

$25 is the only required amount. This is suggested for smaller organizations or individuals.

$50 dues are suggested for medium-sized organizations.

$100 dues are suggested for larger foundations, corporations, banks, universities or those who wish to contribute a larger amount.

Lee Powell is a key organizer and Co-Chairman of the Economic Equality Coalition steering committee and is Executive Director of the Delta Caucus. Again, the vast eight-state Greater Delta Region is a key partner of the national Economic Equality Coalition.

We will strengthen our collective voices if we join together with other major regions in urging the leading Presidential campaigns and Members of Congress from both parties to take much stronger action in fighting poverty, hunger and economic inequality across the country.

Key issues will include job creation at livable wages, health care for under-served populations, hunger and nutrition, affordable housing, transportation, broadband and other infrastructure investments to create job and improve our deteriorating infrastructure, renewable energy/energy efficiency, developing a well-trained and educated workforce, diversity and civil rights, and other vital initiatives for improving equality and opportunity.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016 House session, 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.: Rayburn House of Representatives building Room B-340, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Note: special thanks to Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) for reserving this room for our group at such an early date)

Thursday, May 12, 2016 Senate session, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.: TBD-Senate meeting rooms cannot be reserved this far in advance

Thursday, May 12, 2016 session for Presidential campaigns at the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court, noon to 4 p.m.:

This session will also include representatives of the Mid-Atlantic region-Washington, DC/Baltimore/Maryland/Virginia, concerned about the economic inequality in that region, which has high overall wealth but also has extremes of wealth and poverty in close proximity.

The collaborative approach among the major economically distressed populations is broadly similar to the Clinton administration’s New Markets Initiative, which included Appalachia, the Delta, Southwest Border, Midwest, Native Americans, and economically distressed inner city neighborhoods. There should be a vital national priority to eliminate the situation where these populations lag far behind the rest of America in opportunity and prosperity.

Key participants will be high-level speakers for the major Presidential campaigns from both parties, Members of Congress, and distinguished experts on vital issues related to economic equality, hunger, poverty and racial justice across the country.

The scope of this conference will be much broader-essentially national-than Delta regional events in the past, although the Delta Grassroots Caucus will be one of the key organizers. Leaders from the other regions agreed with the Delta Caucus that we can amplify our voices to the national powers that be by joining forces among those regions that have historically lagged far behind in America’s prosperity.

This newsletter only goes to grassroots leaders who have a demonstrated commitment to economic development in the Greater Delta Region and nationally, so you are invited to the May 11-12, 2016 if you are receiving this message.

You register by sending in the registration fees as listed above.


All attendees are responsible for arranging for their hotel and taxi or other transportation to the conference sessions.

We have a very good reduced rate at the Radisson at Reagan Airport to be the group hotel. The rate is $189 at one of the busiest times of the year in Washington, DC’s spring-time; by Washington, DC standards that is a very good rate.

Please call the hotel at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Economic Equality and Delta Caucus group to get the reduced rate.

Deadline for getting the group rate is April 18, 2016. If you call after this date the hotel will not have any more rooms available.

Over the years we have had a group hotel arrangement with the Radisson Hotel, Reagan National Airport, 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA, 22202.

For those flying in to Reagan airport, it is a short taxi ride away.

This location is usually about a 15-minute drive to Capitol Hill although traffic patterns vary. There is a good restaurant there as well.

If you prefer staying at another hotel, that is your choice and that is perfectly fine. There are advantages to having a group of conference partners in the same place, and we have had good experiences at this location in earlier years.

We will see about getting some taxis to go to the group sessions.