“Fewer American people are middle class than 50 years ago. What has happened?”

Originally posted in our May 2022 Top of Mind Newsletter.

To close out this month’s Top of Mind, we wanted to examine a related question to the concept of mindset, employability, and education; economic status. While we believe that mindsets are as important as any other factors (if not more), the trends of class across the world, and especially within the US, shed an interesting light on the context of the last 50+ years.

In short, the middle class, once a strong and growing sector in the States, has been shrinking. While some families are entering the upper class, a larger portion of the population is now considered lower-income. And, while median incomes regardless of the economic class have risen, they have more steeply risen for those with the most wealth. What’s more, these class divisions are not equitably segmented around race, gender, or marital status.

So, what are we to do with this data? For one, this gives all of us a chance for reflection and empathy. The social mobility we were promised from the 1970s is largely gone if it was ever as available as we were told. But, therein lies the opportunity. As we see complexity and uncertainty rock the established systems of education, traditional business, and social policy, we know that the path that leads us here won’t get us where we’re going.

In order to adapt to changing circumstances, perhaps we need to re-evaluate our expectations of what stability and mobility mean. Perhaps the best place to start then is learning to think like an entrepreneur.

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