Jedni piszą o czynnikach ekonomicznych, a jeden pan wpisał się o stylu życia. Myślę ze ten drugi czynnik jest istotniejszy.
I'm old.Very old. IMO the definition of what middle class is has changed. I grew up in what people in my area considered middle class, even upper middle class. The concept that my parents would send me to college didn't exist. No one talked about going to college. Out of high school I went into the Army to get college paid for. My brother and sister went to work out of high school.
Many men went into trades and blue collar work. It was acceptable and respected. Today ask any young woman what kind of man they look for and many will say "professional". Men working in trades are not seen as desirable. Doctor and lawyer is kind of the bottom limit which seems insane. But falling marriage rates are showing the result.
Man and women when I was young worked together to create a life together. Today we compete with each other because we're "equal".
We didn't have a cable TV, smartphone and internet bill. Going out to eat several times a week or ordering food in was almost never done. Going to the movies was rare and a big event. Covid has actually turned back the clock on this. Americans were spending so much just on eating out that when covid dialed back on that spending Americans started buying things for their homes. That's much more how money was spent 50 years ago...improving their homes which improved their lives. Today we spend on eating food we know isn't good for us. The diabetes rate shows this.
The biggest change is productivity. I was a software engineer and I often worked 60+ hours per week. But when working there were almost no distractions. There was no internet. No smartphone to check. No social media. No Netflix, YouTube, cable TV. We had TV 3 channels, that's it. Oh, and radio. So when I worked I was focused on the work. When the internet started to become popular my productivity crashed. Look at me right now wasting my life writing a comment no one will read. It's addictive. We don't really measure productivity correctly. If we just divide production by number of workers or hours it includes all the tech added to increase production. But the worker's part isn't always measured. I think that has fallen off a cliff. If I go into a store the workers are on smartphones oblivious to customers coming in and leaving. When I see office workers it's the same.
The bar has changed. Today a poor American lives better than a King in Mesopotamia did. Wealth is relative. We feel poor or rich depending on who is living around us. IMO these income numbers and such server to make people think they've poor because they love that message. They can blame others for their state. And the media loves this because they can keep feeding this message, keeping those eyeballs and ad dollars. In that way nothing has changed. Media always controlled the masses.