Shrinking Middle-Class America a Variety Reference Materials Capstone Project

Excerpt from Capstone Project :

Shrinking Middle-Class America" a variety reference materials (15-20) books, articles, journals, an internet sources long information cited proven-based gathered survey research data relation topic (The Shrinking Middle-Class America).

The shrinking middle-class in America

The societies across the globe continue to face challenges, which impact global evolution. Within the United States, a notable social concern is represented by the shrinking of the middle class, a phenomenon that has accelerated throughout the past recent years. The current project finds that the main causes of the trend are represented by changes in society and economy, and more recently exacerbated by the economic crisis. The solutions proposed to resolve the issue include economic measures for job creation, political reforms to support the labor market and improve government services or efforts to improve the access to education.

Table of contents


31.1. Introduction to the topic of the shrinking American middle class

51.2. Background to the research

51.3. Origin of the research interest

61.4. Research questions

61.5. Research significance

72. Literature review

72.1. Introduction to the chapter

82.2. Review of the available literature

82.1.1. Defining the middle class concept

122.1.2. Measuring the middle class

142.1.3. Historic approaches to the shrinking of the middle class in the United States

173. The research methodology

204. Data collection and discussion

214.1. The causes of the shrinking American middle class

254.2. Facts and figures of the shrinking middle class in America

304.3. Proposed solutions to addressing the shrinkage of the American middle class

355. Conclusions

355.1. Summary of findings

385.2. Limitations of the study

395.3. Future research


1. Introduction

1.1. Introduction to the topic of the shrinking American middle class

The society represents the nucleus of planetary functioning and evolution throughout the world and throughout the history. Societies strive to function as integrated constructions in which the people life and function together based on legal and moral principles. The stability of the society is then quintessential for the well-being of the entire community and the entire planet.

Throughout the past recent years, the stability of the societies across the globe has been challenged by a wide array of elements. Within the international context, despite globalization, major differences still exist in ideologies, and these often lead to devastating military conflicts. Within the African countries then, the society is characterized by decreased living standards, deathly diseases which are now managed in the Western Hemisphere, yet the medicine is insufficiently available in the region; this makes the life expectancy at birth the lowest in the world. Also, within the Middle East, the societies still battle human rights issues, insufficiency of water or immense income inequality as a few rich ones activate in the petroleum industry and the large majority of the population loves in poverty, some even in extreme poverty.

Within the Western Hemisphere, some of the social problems mentioned above have been addressed to a rather successful degree, others nevertheless remain or new ones are created. Within the United States for instance, some of the more notable social problems include the restricted access to health care, the weakening economic power of the population or the shrinking of the middle class.

The shrinking of the middle class in the North American country virtually refers to the fact that the American population, once well structured into lower, middle and upper class, is now shifting its composition. In the late years then, more and more people have migrated from the middle class to the lower class and this trend is starting to raise concerns within the sociological community. Additionally, interest has been manifested by the academic community, who invested more resources in the research of this phenomenon.

Throughout the current project then, the emphasis falls on the assessment of the shrinking middle class in the United States. The first step to be completed in this sense is represented by the review of the literature, in an effort to create the basis of the future research effort. Then, the methodology of the research would be presented and the research questions would be answered. Finally, the findings of the project would be restated in a centralized manner and the limitations of the study would be revealed.

1.2. Background to the research

The current research is the first on the topic of the shrinking middle class in the United States conducted by the current researcher. In other words, the study will be a fully new one, which will not integrate previous works from the same researcher. The information integrated will be entirely collected from other sources, of reputable and reliable origin.

1.3. Origin of the research interest

The interest for the current research was raised during the conduction of generic research and the search for a topic of interest on which to write. As mentioned before, the interest and background on the topic of the shrinking middle class in the United States had been limited, but during the process of generic research, the topic became more interesting. Questions were as such raised in terms of the meaning and causes of the shrinking middle class, the causes and prospective solutions to resolving the issue.

The interest in the topic was further deepened by the better understanding of the process, combined with the ability to understand it within the private context of the family. My and my family's traditional belief in the American dream had been based on the expectation of rewards due to hard work and loyalty, but throughout the past recent years, it has become more obvious that the attainment of the American dream was mostly a matter of luck. The values in which I was raised however made me more eager to go deeper in understanding the world and applying my values and hard work in both personal and professional endeavors.

1.4. Research questions

The research questions represent the starting point in the construction of the future research in the meaning that they enunciate the concerns raised and the issues to which answers should be provided. The currently presented questions then would be further on addressed individually and they would constitute the pillars of the actual research process.

In this order of ideas, the current study strives to answer the following:

(1) What are the causes generating the shrinking of the American middle class?

(2) What are the more notable facts and figures about the shrinking of the middle class in the United States?

(3) What solutions can be devised and implemented to slow down and even reverse the processes of shrinkage among the American middle class population?

1.5. Research significance

The current research endeavor is characterized by two important significances. One of its significances is revealed at a theoretical level, whereas the other is manifested at the practical level. More specifically, at the theoretical level, the importance of the current study is represented by the fact that it researches the available literature and centralizes the most relevant and reliable information; it as such presents the valid data on the shrinking of the American middle class in an integrated and easily accessible manner. This current study then can serve as a mechanism of understanding the literary standpoint regarding the issue, but could also constitute a starting point for future research endeavors.

Secondly, at the level of the practical significance, this is revealed through the ability of the study to provide useful information to practitioners, such as policy makers, sociologists, demographers and so on. Additionally, it constitutes a reliable source of information for the average public, interested in the topic of the shrinking middle class American population. With this objective in mind, the study would be constructed in a means and with the usage of a terminology that is accessible to the general reader.

2. Literature review

2.1. Introduction to the chapter

The literature review section of the current research project sets out to create the basis for the future research effort. The literature review as such helps to assess the available sources and create an understanding of the topic to be addressed. In order to increase the efficiency and reliability of the literature review section, it is important to consult and integrate data from three specific sources of information.

These three sources refer to the books and textbooks, journal articles in the specialized media and internet articles. Each source of information is characterized by its own strengths and weaknesses and the combination of the sources leads to the maximization of the ability to capitalize on the data, as well as the minimization of the independent shortages of each source.

At the level of the books and textbooks for instance, these address the issues of interest in a detailed manner and to an in depth degree, but they might be outdated. In the specific case of middle class America shrinking, the topic is rather novel and the expectation is that few books are recent enough to adequately address this topic. It is then necessary to combine the information retrieved from books with information retrieved from journal and internet articles.

The journal articles are the…

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