With 2016 nearly here, a new report by the Pew Research Center shows the middle class is shrinking.

According to the report in 1971, 61 percent of the population could be defined as middle class.

By 2014 that number fell to just below 50 percent.

It's still the largest class compared to lower and upper income classes, and the good news is more people are going to the upper than the lower class according to the report.

For the purposes of their study, Pew defined middle and upper class by a threshold value based on fractions of the median income adjusted for the size of household.

In terms of real dollars the income levels vary by state because cost of living is different in each state.

Minnesota's median income in 2015 was $60,702. The United States' median is $52,250.

Using Pew's definition, the middle income range in Minnesota would be $40,468 to $121,404.

Maryland had the highest median income in the country, and the range there would be $48,322 to $144,966.

In 2015 the breakdown in the United States is 29 percent lower income, 50 percent middle and 21 percent upper.

The Pew Research report cited a significant change in the job market since 1971. Many of the blue-collar manufacturing jobs that defined the middle class have been exported overseas or automated to replace a salary and benefits.