5 Services the Middle Class Won’t Be Able to Afford In the Next Five Years

5 Services the Middle Class Won’t Be Able to Afford In the Next Five Years

The middle class has long been the backbone of the American economy. As inflation continues to rise, many families find it increasingly difficult to maintain their standard of living.

If current economic trends persist, several essential services may become out of reach for middle-class households in the next five years. This article will explore five services the middle class may soon struggle to afford.

What Services Will the Middle Class Not Be Able to Afford in 5 Years?

At the current rate of inflation, these services will be unaffordable to the middle class in the next five years if something doesn’t change:

  • Auto Mechanic Services
  • Housekeeping Services
  • Handyman Services
  • Healthcare Services
  • Child Care Services

The Rising Cost of Keeping Your Car on the Road

Auto mechanic services and repairs have significantly increased costs over the past few years. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, motor vehicle maintenance and repair costs increased by 4.1% per year from 2017 to 2022, outpacing the overall inflation rate of 2.8%. Since 2022, repair costs have skyrocketed by approximately 10% per year.

The average cost to own and operate a new vehicle in 2023 was $12,182, a staggering $1,454 increase from the previous year. According to AAA, drivers in 2023 averaged 9.83 cents per mile driven on maintenance, repairs, and tire replacement.

Labor rates have also increased substantially, rising from under $50 per hour in 2019 to nearly $60 per hour by the end of 2023, with most increases occurring in 2022 and 2023.

Parts costs have also seen sharp increases, with the cost of parts sourced from automakers rising by 10% and aftermarket parts by 17% in 2022, compared to the typical annual inflation of 0-4%. Certain states, such as California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia, had the highest average car repair costs in 2023 due to the high cost of living.

The rising repair expenses have been driven by more complex vehicle features, a lack of skilled technicians, supply chain issues impacting parts availability and costs, and inflationary pressures.

As these costs continue to climb, many middle-class families may find it increasingly difficult to afford the maintenance and repairs necessary to keep their vehicles on the road. For many, replacing all four tires and fixing transmissions have already become unaffordable.

Hiring Help to Keep a Clean Home May Become a Luxury

Housekeeping services, while not a necessity, have become increasingly popular among middle-class families in recent years. However, as demand for these services grows and costs rise, hiring someone to clean the home regularly may become a luxury many can’t afford.

The hourly rates for housekeepers have been steadily increasing, driven by factors such as higher minimum wages and a shortage of workers in the industry.

In some areas, the cost of hiring a housekeeper for a few hours a week can easily exceed $200 per month. For a middle-class family struggling to make ends meet, this additional expense may be too much.

As the cost of living continues to rise and wages fail to keep pace, many middle-class households may have to forego the convenience of housekeeping services and clean their homes themselves.

Handyman Services Increasingly Out of Reach for Middle-Class Budgets

Similar to housekeeping services, the cost of hiring a handyman or repair person for home maintenance and repairs is on the rise.

As the hourly rates for these services increase, driven by a shortage of skilled workers and rising material costs, many middle-class families may find it increasingly difficult to afford the necessary upkeep of their homes.

Common home repairs, such as fixing a leaky faucet or replacing a broken appliance, can cost several hundred dollars. More extensive repairs, like replacing a roof or updating electrical systems, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

These costs may become prohibitively expensive for middle-class families already struggling to save for the future and cover everyday expenses.

As a result, many middle-class homeowners may have to delay necessary repairs or attempt to tackle the work themselves, potentially leading to further damage or safety issues.

The Middle-Class Squeezed by Soaring Healthcare Expenses

Healthcare costs have been a primary concern for American families for decades, and the situation is expected to worsen in the coming years.

Rising insurance premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and medication prices make comprehensive healthcare coverage and access to medical services increasingly unaffordable for the middle class.

According to a recent study, healthcare costs have been rising at around 4-5% per year, far outpacing wage growth for most middle-class workers. This means that a more significant portion of a family’s income must be dedicated to healthcare expenses each year, leaving less money for other essential needs.

Rising healthcare costs are due to an aging population, advancements in medical technology, and a lack of price transparency in the industry. For a typical middle-class family, the annual cost of healthcare, including premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses, could easily exceed $20,000.

As these costs continue to rise, many middle-class families may be forced to make difficult decisions about their healthcare, such as preceding necessary treatments or medications or opting for less comprehensive insurance coverage.

Without significant reforms to the healthcare system, access to quality, affordable care may become increasingly out of reach for the middle class.

Child Care Costs Growing Out of Reach for Many Families

Child care is an essential service for working parents that allows them to maintain employment and provide for their families. However, childcare costs have risen rapidly in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for middle-class families to afford.

The average cost of child care varies widely depending on location and type of care, but it can easily exceed $1,000 per month for a single child in many areas. For families with multiple children, the costs can quickly become overwhelming.

Higher minimum wages for care providers, increased regulations, and a shortage of qualified workers are contributing factors to the rising cost of child care. As a result, many middle-class families spend a significant portion of their income on child care, leaving less money for other essential expenses.

If childcare costs continue to rise at their current pace in the coming years, many middle-class families may be forced to make difficult decisions, such as having one parent leave the workforce to care for children full-time or settling for lower-quality care options.

This could have significant implications for the economy as a whole and for the well-being of children and families.


The rising cost of essential services and stagnant wage growth are straining middle-class families. If current economic trends continue, services such as auto repairs, housekeeping, handyman services, healthcare, and child care may become increasingly out of reach for many households in the next five years.

As these costs continue to rise, middle-class families may be forced to make difficult decisions about how to allocate their limited resources, potentially decreasing their overall standard of living.

Without significant changes to address the underlying factors driving these cost increases, the middle class may find itself increasingly squeezed and unable to afford the services that have long been considered essential to the American way of life.

Policymakers at all levels and business leaders must work together to find solutions to help keep these vital services affordable and accessible for the middle class. Addressing these challenges head-on can rebuild a stable and prosperous future for all Americans.