A lot of Americans would be in dire straits if they had an emergency and needed to come up with some quick cash, according to a new survey.
In fact, almost half of all Americans would not be able to come up with $400 in an emergency situation, according to the survey by the Federal Reserve. When the Fed asked Americans how they would pay for a $400 emergency, 47 percent of the respondents said they would have to borrow the money or sell something to get it.
The shocking stat means that at least half of Americans are living one paycheck away from poverty.
The causes of this situation include falling incomes, wage stagnation and growing income inequality — much of it caused by the economic meltdown of 2008. A survey by the Pew Charitable Trust found that the median wealth of the average middle class family fell  by 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.
The number of middle class people is falling, as well. Pew found that in 1971, 61 percent of American households could be classified as middle class, but by 2014 only 43 percent of Americans could be described that way.
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