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美国中产阶级规模缩小,但还是比欧洲中产有钱

Annalyn Kurtz 2017年05月01日

虽然美国的中产阶级规模有所减小,但法国、爱尔兰、英国和荷兰等国中产阶级在不断壮大。

皮尤研究中心称,美国的中产阶级还是比西欧人民富裕一些。

皮尤研究跟踪了1991年到2010年间12个国家中产阶级的变化情况,包括美国和11个西欧国家。大部分国家的中产阶级规模都在减小,但也有少数例外。

中产阶级的标准是,家庭年收入达到全国收入中位数的三分之二到两倍之间。数据会根据家庭规模,通胀水平以及购买力平价调整,方便研究人员比较各国和各个时间段的生活成本差异。

举个例子,2010年年收入达到2万至6.1万美元的美国单身人士可以称为中产阶级。四口之家的年收入要达到4.1万至12.2万美元左右才能称为中产。

如果看可支配收入,美国中产家庭收入中位数为60884美元,仅次于卢森堡。但截至2010年,美国中产人数占总人口比例仅为59%,在报告各国里排名最后。

1991年美国中产人口比例还为62%,说明这些年里出现了下降。

“美国中产人数下降反映了美国跟西欧很多国家相比,收入分配不够平衡,”报告称,同时指出近年美国收入不均的状况有所恶化,主要因为收入过高或过低的人口数量相对增多。

在调查国家最穷的两个国家——意大利和西班牙,2010年家庭年收入大约2.4万至7.5万美元能达到中产水平。

报告列举的国家中,爱尔兰、法国、英国和荷兰出现两大趋势:可支配收入增加且中产阶级规模扩大。其中爱尔兰最为明显,到2010年69%的家庭都达到中产标准,20年前比例还只有60%。爱尔兰中产阶级崛起跟上世纪90年代国民经济大发展几乎同步,当时爱尔兰被称为“凯尔特之虎”。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

That said, America's middle class is still richer than most of its Western European counterparts, a new report by the Pew Research Center shows.

The study documents how the middle class evolved from 1991 to 2010 in 12 countries including the U.S. and 11 nations in Western Europe. In most of those countries, the middle class has been shrinking, but there are a few exceptions.

To be considered part of the middle class, households had to earn between two-thirds to double their country’s median disposable household income. The data were adjusted for household size, inflation, and purchasing power parity to allow researchers to compare cost-of-living differences across countries and time.

A single person in the U.S., for example, would need to have earned between $20,000 and $61,000 to be considered middle class in 2010. For a family of four, it took household income of roughly $41,000 to $122,000 to make the cut.

When it comes to disposable income, middle class households in the U.S. lived on $60,884 at the median, the second-highest level after Luxembourg. But as of 2010, only 59% of Americans were in the middle class—the lowest level of any country in the report.

That’s down from 1991, when 62% of Americans were part of the middle class.

“The American experience reflects a marked difference in how income is distributed in the U.S. compared with many countries in Western Europe,” the researchers noted, adding that income inequality is widest in the U.S. because a relatively high proportion of Americans earn either high incomes or low incomes.

In Italy and Spain, two of the poorest countries on the list, it took between roughly $24,000 and $75,000 for a family of four to be considered middle class in 2010.

Of the countries featured in the report, Ireland, France, the U.K., and the Netherlands had all benefited from two positive trends: a rise in disposable income along with an expansion of the middle class. The trends were most dramatic in Ireland, where about 69% of households were considered middle class as of 2010, up from 60% two decades earlier. Ireland's rise of the middle class coincided with its rapid economic expansion in the 1990s, a period often dubbed the “Celtic Tiger.”

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