The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt
Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Social Science - 400 pages
Since 1997, the number of American families filing for federal bankruptcy annually has exceeded one million. By most measures, those who file are members of the middle class—a group that has long provided stability and vitality for the American economic system. This raises the troubling question: why, during the most remarkable period of prosperity in our history, are unprecedented numbers of Americans encountering such serious financial trouble?
The authors of this important book analyze court records and demographic data on thousands of bankruptcy cases, as well as debtors’ own poignant accounts of the reasons for their bankruptcies. For many middle-class Americans, the findings show, financial stability is fragile—almost any setback can be disastrous. The erosion of job stability, divorce and family instability, the visible and invisible costs of medical care, the burden of home ownership, and the staggering weight of consumer debt financed with plastic combine to threaten the financial security of growing numbers of middle-class families. The authors view the bankruptcy process in the light of changing cultural and economic factors and consider what this may signify for the future of a large, secure, and dynamic middle class.
What people are saying - Write a review
The fragile middle class: Americans in debtUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Following up the authors' 1989 As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America, winner of the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award, this book considers the middle class in ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
aﬀected aﬀord African-American alimony American American middle class assets bankrupt debtors bankruptcy courts bankruptcy ﬁlings Bankruptcy Law bankruptcy rate bankruptcy sample beneﬁts bills Bureau California Census Chapter 13 child support Consumer Bankruptcy Project consumer credit consumer debt credit card debt creditors debt-income ratio debtors in bankruptcy diﬀerence diﬃculties Discover cards districts divorce dollars economic eﬀects Elizabeth Warren Federal ﬁg ﬁgures ﬁle ﬁled for bankruptcy ﬁnance ﬁnancial ﬁnancial collapse ﬁnancial trouble ﬁnd ﬁnding ﬁrst ﬁve Hispanic Hispanic-Americans home mortgage homeowners in bankruptcy homeownership households Ibid identiﬁed income increased inﬂation job loss layoﬀs listed loans marital MasterCard median medical debt medical problems middle class oﬀer Oﬃce Ohio pay oﬀ payments percent petitioners proportion questionnaire reasons for bankruptcy reﬂect renters reported Research responses risk ruptcy Shuchman signiﬁcant signiﬁcantly speciﬁc spouse Statistical Abstract Sullivan sumer Survey Tennessee Texas th percentile unemployed unemployment unsecured debt Visa Westbrook women workers