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The Numbers Game

An animated series discussing the challenges of accurately measuring and understanding the economy and economic policy.


We often hear that the middle class is stagnating and making no economic progress over the last four decades. Those making this claim use statistics to back up this pessimistic conclusion. Yet it is easy to find other statistics that lead to a different conclusion and that show that the middle class's standard of living has in fact been growing. This series explores how different assumptions can easily change our perception of how the economy treats the middle class. The bottom line is that data questions like these are often more complicated than they appear to be.

Is it true that the wages for those in the middle class have been stagnant since the 1970s? Click to watch the video and explore the related materials.

Changes in family structure over the last thirty years have made it difficult to measure the economic progress of the middle class.


Has economic progress in America been shared widely or captured by only the rich?


The American standard of living has improved for more people than the numbers suggest.