As in much of the United States, an increasing proportion of Sacramento-area residents can be classified as rich or poor, while the region's middle class is shrinking, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
In 2014, about 49 percent of the region's households had incomes that put them in the middle class, which Pew defines as roughly $42,000 to $125,000 for a family of three. By comparison, about 55 percent of the region's households were classified as middle class in 2000.
Over the same period, the proportion of Sacramentans classified as low-income rose from 26 percent to 29 percent, and the proportion of Sacramentans classified as upper income rose from 19 percent to 22 percent, the Pew analysis found.
A similar trend has occurred across the country as real wages for American workers have fallen and the incomes of the wealthy have risen. Sacramento's income spread mirrors the nation's.
The shrinking middle class has been a steady theme in this year's U.S. presidential election, with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders making it a focal point of their campaigns. Outside of politics, the Pew report notes, "new economic research suggests that a struggling middle class could be holding back the potential for future economic growth. The national trend is clear -- the middle class is losing ground as a share of the population, and its share of aggregate U.S. household income is also declining."
Income inequality has become more pronounced in the Sacramento region in recent years, the Pew report found. In 2014, families earning incomes high enough to put them in the 90th percentile for the region made about $10.40 for every dollar earned by families at the 10th percentile. In 2000, that ratio was $8.50 per dollar.