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Many college grads feel their grip on middle class loosening

May 1, 2019
FILE - In this May 17, 2018, file photo, new graduates line up before the start of the Bergen Community College commencement at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. A college degree has long been a ticket to the U.S. middle class. Yet a new survey shows that college graduates aren’t as likely as they once were to feel they belong to the middle class. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A college degree has long been a ticket to the U.S. middle class.

It typically confers higher pay, stronger job security, greater home ownership and comparatively stable households. Those benefits have long been seen as worth the sacrifices often required, from deferred income to student debt.

Yet college graduates aren’t as likely as they once were to feel they belong to the middle class, according to a collaborative analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff. The survey found that 35% of graduates described themselves as working or lower class, up from just 20% who felt that way in 1983. By contrast, only 64% of college grads say they feel they belong to the middle or upper class.