The Pew article How the American middle class has changed in the past five decades by Rakesh Kochhar and Stella Sechopoulos (4/20/2022) has seven facts about changes in the middle class. Overall though,
The share of adults who live in middle-class households fell from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2021, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
where middle class is defined as
In this analysis, “middle-income” adults in 2021 are those with an annual household income that was two-thirds to double the national median income in 2020, after incomes have been adjusted for household size, or about $52,000 to $156,000 annually in 2020 dollars for a household of three.
The chart here is from fact 4: Married adults and those in multi-earner households made more progress up the income ladder from 1971 to 2021 than their immediate counterparts.
Generally, partnered adults have better outcomes on a range of economic outcomes than the unpartnered. One reason is that marriage is increasingly linked to educational attainment, which bears fruit in terms of higher incomes.
The article includes a detailed methodology section.