More than four-fifths of America’s metropolitan areas have seen household incomes decline this century, according to new research that exposes the politically charged reality of middle-class decline at the heart of this year’s presidential election. The research on urban centres that are home to three-quarters of the US population shows that median household incomes, adjusted for the cost of living in the area, grew in just 39 out of 229 metro areas between 1999 and 2014.

The figures, prepared by the non-partisan Pew Research Center and shared with the Financial Times, cast light on the drivers of the economic discontent that have fuelled the rise of Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, and Bernie Sanders, the challenger to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. READ MORE