For many Americans, keeping a foothold in the middle class is very difficult. A recent report by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts finds that a third of Americans who are born in the middle class lose their middle class status as adults. Another Pew study notes that African Americans experience the most downward mobility — almost half of children born to middle income African American families fall to the bottom of the income ladder as adults.
Ellis Cose is a journalist and author of "The End of Anger." Writing about the experiences of black Americans on TheRoot.com, he said, "Many of us instead were convinced that the deck was stacked against us, that no matter how hard we worked, we would never get a fair shake."
University of Maryland assistant professor of sociology Kris Marsh, however, is cautiously optimistic.