Goodbye, Middle Class

CNNMoney.com

Nearly one in two Americans is now living on the lower end of the income scale, according to the Census Bureau. For a family of four that's less than $45,000 a year. These are three families who are falling out of the middle class.

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One bedroom for a family of five

Previous pay: $110,000
Current pay: None
Where they live: Staying as guests in a friend's home

Talia Mobley and her husband Adam have been out of work for more than two years. Adam was a lead technician for Comcast and says, "I had it made." Talia worked in customer service.

Collectively, they have sent out 500 resumes but have not gotten one job offer.

Talia went back to school to retrain as a Certified Medical Assistant because she heard health care is where the jobs are. But she still hasn't been able to find work.

Fifty percent of the unemployed in New Jersey have been out of work for more than six months, and it's a similar story in Florida, Illinois and Nevada, according to the Brookings Institute.

[Also see: Top Online Degrees for Career Change]

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From six figures to the poverty line


Previous pay: $130,000
Current pay: $15,000
Where they live: Their foreclosed home, awaiting eviction

This family of 5 represents what it can look like when the bottom falls out of the middle class.

They live in Morris County, N.J., where the median household income is $91,403.

Unwilling to show their faces, they still wanted to share their story. The father used to make over $100,000. But then his 6-figure, telecom job of 20 years went to India.

They haven't paid their mortgage since 2009 and wake up each morning wondering if today will be the day they are evicted.

[Also see: America's Most Overpriced Cities, 2012]

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Not living in poverty but not making it


Previous pay: $40,000 to $50,000
Current pay: $12/hour
Where they live: Family shelter

A mother and her three children in Bergen County, N.J., now call a shelter home. Too ashamed to show their faces, the mother says, "I never thought in a million years I'd be at this point."

But when she lost her customer service job, she could no longer pay the rent in a county where the median household income is $77,000.

The manager of the shelter sees more and more families like this -- stuck in the middle. Not living in poverty but not making it either.

Since we first met her, the mother has been re-hired by her previous employer working in customer service, but only part time.

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