Though the wide majority of U.S. adults say they are middle class, fewer and fewer of them actually are.
Through data from Northwestern Mutual and the Pew Research Center, CNBC reports that about 70 percent of the U.S. adult population consider themselves to be a part of the middle class, but only half the nation has a household income between $42,000 to $126,000.
The number of actual middle-income households, defined as two-thirds to double the national median, has been shrinking for quite some time. In 1971, 61 percent of Americans were in the middle class.
"Often there's a disconnect with the amount of money they have and how they consider themselves," said Emily Holbrook, the director of planning at Northwestern Mutual. It comes down to their income, expenses, savings and where they are located, she said.
CNBC reports that one family in the expensive Washington D.C. metro earns around $125,000 a year and still lives paycheck to paycheck.