As the economy continues its slow recovery, more people than ever now believe they evolved into the "lower class."

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A recent survey out of the University of Chicago find more than eight percent now consider themselves "lower class," which is the highest percentage in the 40 years that the survey has been conducted. Rutgers economist Joseph Seneca says almost 2 million Americans have been left behind in the recovery.

"And we see that in terms of a good number of individuals not having the same salary levels and the same benefit levels."

Many experts believe this "lower class" feeling is borne of the fact some are earning less and are having to do with less to get by, despite an improving economy. Another survey found less than 55 percent believe they have a good chance of improving their future living standard.

This residual "lower class" feeling may be even more apparent in a generally affluent state like New Jersey, where the unemployment rate remains more than a full percentage point higher than the national rate.