It is becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to achieve and sustain a middle-class life. The costs of homeownership, healthcare and a college education have soared, while incomes have stagnated. According to the Middle Class Security Index, a measure developed by Demos and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, fewer than one third of middle-income families were securely in the middle class in 2006, while a quarter were at high risk of falling out of the middle class.