Income precarity and the financial crisis

Michael Nau, Matthew Soener

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


American families have become less economically secure in recent decades, and this process accelerated during the 2008 financial crisis and its immediate aftermath. This study investigates how the crisis apportioned income precarity among families compared to pre-crisis years. We use the Survey of Consumer Finances and find that working families suffered the preponderance of income losses from the crisis, although the crisis shifted income losses towards more privileged working families. In fact, middle-income working families now have the same level of income precarity as the working poor, and families in the top income quintile continue to have elevated precarity levels. This result indicates that the middle class continues to bear a growing share of economic risk and that all working families are experiencing heightened insecurity in the post-crisis era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-544
Number of pages22
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • capitalism
  • class
  • crises
  • J6
  • labor market institutions
  • political economy
  • stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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