(AP) – A look at America’s “new rich,” a rising demographic group, according to survey data provided to The Associated Press:
_The group is made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles, those with household income of $250,000 or more at some point during their working lives. That puts them, if sometimes temporarily, in the top 2 percent of earners. They are 21 percent of U.S. adults ages 25-60, a proportion that has more than doubled since 1979.
_They differ from the super-rich because of their sense of economic fragility. Having reached the top 2 percent of income earners for a year or more of their lives, in some cases they will later fall below it. Those above them on the economic ladder often are more secure, with long-held family assets.
_The new rich are important in part because they spend only about 60 percent of their before-tax income, making them prime marketing targets. Companies increasingly turn to them to boost revenue with a range of new “mass luxury” products and services. Economists say they’ll be important to the U.S. economic recovery as middle class Americans below them in income continue to struggle.
_Although socially liberal on issues such as abortion and gay rights, the new rich are more fiscally conservative than other Americans and less likely to support safety-net programs to help the disadvantaged.
_ While 21 percent of working-age adults will achieve affluence for parts of their lives, they are substantially outnumbered by Americans who are financially struggling. Some 54 percent of working-age Americans will experience near-poverty _ defined as 150 percent of the poverty line _ for portions of their lives, hurt by the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)