There has been much discussion and debate about how much damage the great recession did to the middle class. According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center it has certainly affected at least the way Americans view their financial standing.

Pew asked 2,508 adults if they were in the upper class, upper-middle class, middle class, lower-middle class or lower class. Thirty-two percent self-identified as being lower class or lower-middle class, 49 percent pegged themselves as middle class, and 17 percent said they were upper class or upper-middle class.

When Pew asked the same question in 2008 the breakdown was 25 percent lower classes, 53 percent middle class and 21 percent upper classes.

The biggest demographic jump in those describing themselves as lower class came among 18-to-29-year-olds—25 percent in 2008 and now 39 percent in 2012.

[Pew Research Center]