The New Middle What does it mean to be middle class in America today? For economists, it's all about income. For the rest of us, it's defined by much more than that.
Special Series

The New Middle

The Betancourts bought their home in 1986. They were on the verge of paying off their mortgage in 2005 when a series of health emergencies shattered their hopes of owning their home outright. Mallory Yu/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Mallory Yu/NPR

For The Black Middle Class, Housing Crisis And History Collude To Dash Dreams

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492251653/492443281" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Modern Television Portrays Complex View Of The Middle Class

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490671297/490671298" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jesse Murillo (top right) and Megan Newman (bottom) opened the Out West RV park, nestled between Midland and Odessa, as a long-term investment. Since opening the park, the couple have been living in an RV as they build their own home. Ilana Panich-Linsman for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ilana Panich-Linsman for NPR

Texas Town's Fortunes Rise And Fall With Pump Jacks And Oil Prices

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/486756732/489361696" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

What Does 'Middle Class' Mean In America? We Asked, You Answered

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487815046/487815047" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Rich Harlan prepares Coney hot dogs at his restaurant, Red Hots Coney Island, in Detroit. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Gilkey/NPR

Coney: The Hot Dog That Fueled Detroit's Middle-Class Dreams

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484985728/485740649" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Dispelling The Myth Of A Classless Society In 'White Trash'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/485138723/485138724" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Ari Shapiro/NPR

Middle Class Earners Struggle To Pay Rent In New York City

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484987315/484987316" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A father plays with his children outside their house in 1952. George Konig/Keystone Features/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
George Konig/Keystone Features/Getty Images

A Brief History Of America's Middle Class

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/481571379/484832520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sally Elford/Getty Images/Ikon Images

These Graduates Beat The Odds, Now They Need A Job

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482036126/488568442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript