America's working class is considered the backbone of the economy, spanning two-thirds of the U.S. civilian workforce. For many people, the group is thought of as mostly male and white. But that image is quickly becoming outdated.
In fact, white male industrial workers -- the factory foremen and assembly-line workers who were credited with buoying Donald Trump to success in the 2016 presidential election -- account for just 11 percent of the working class, according to the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
The working class is on track to become more diverse over the next two decades and will reach a "majority-minority" status in 2032, when minorities will become the biggest demographic within the noncollege-educated workforce. That demographic shift is notable partly because nonwhite workers typically earn less than white employees, which could place more economic pressure on working-class families as well as raise questions about the future of the U.S. economy.
"As the demographic transition of the working class continues, people of color will be a larger share of those supporting the Social Security and Medicare systems, providing the services used by the aging population and creating the demand that drives the economy," wrote Valerie Wilson, the director of the Economic Policy Institute's Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, in a 2016 report.
She added, "Advancing policies that address persistent racial disparities while also tackling class inequality will require abandoning the zero-sum mindset that says one group's set of issues is totally distinct from and in direct competition with another's."
Already, those transitions are underway, placing pressure on some working-class families who are coping with stagnant wages and fewer job opportunities. At the same time, critics point out that some members of the working class receive less attention from lawmakers precisely because they aren't in traditional male factory jobs, even though their low-paying jobs are creating economic barriers for advancement.
Read on to learn about five major traits of America's working class.