The Simpsons are no longer middle class, how America has changed. : Planet Money When the beloved Simpsons family made its TV debut in 1989, it squarely represented middle-class America. Today ... not so much. That house, those two cars, those three kids all on one salary doesn't seem so believable anymore. Today we examine the changing reality of what middle-class means in America through the Simpsons. It's a wild, musical journey into the heart of the US economy. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Homer Simpson vs. the economy

Homer Simpson vs. the economy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
Simpsons characters welcome guests at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California, on May 7, 2009, before a dedication ceremony for the first day of issue of the Simpsons' stamps by the US Postal Service. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

When the Simpsons debuted on our TVs in 1989, it was a picture-perfect, middle-class family. Homer Simpson had a union job with great benefits despite not having a college degree, the family owned two cars, and they lived in a spacious, two-story home. (Albeit, next to an annoying neighbor.)

30 years later, though, things have changed. Last year, The Indicator followed up on an article in The Atlantic that posited that the Simpson's lifestyle was no longer attainable in today's world. Writers on The Simpsons listened and recently they followed up with an episode of their own!

Today on the show, Simpsons writer Tim Long and executive producer Al Jean explain why Bart Simpson will likely never live like his father, Homer. It's the American Dream by the numbers.

Music: "Fantastic Journey," "My Favorite Girl" and "Twists and Turns."

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify; and NPR One.

Want economics stories from the comfort of home? Subscribe to Planet Money's weekly newsletter.