Middle Class Growing In The South
June 27, 1998
Long one of America's poorest regions, incomes in the South have grown faster than those in the country as a whole over the past 30 years. And the Southern middle class is expanding, according to a study from MDC, of Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Southern incomes are now 92 percent of the national average, and 64 percent of all southern white families could be considered middle-class or above as of 1994.
- But only 35 percent of black families could be placed in that category.
- As the region has become more affluent, more income has flowed to fewer families, according to the survey -- not only overall, but within different racial groups.
- Although there are more middle-class blacks in the South today, disparities between rich and poor blacks have become sharper than they used to be.
Median net worth for southern white families was $68,660 in 1994. For blacks, the figure was $18,800.
Yet while southern blacks have a median net worth of a little more than a quarter that of whites, the figure nationally is only one-fifth that of whites.
Source: "Lagging Dixie," Economist, June 27, 1998.
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