That's because they identify with feeling financially squeezed, Madland explained.
"Incomes have been stagnant for some time and, at the same time, basic costs of health care, housing and higher education are going up much, much faster than inflation," he said.
One quarter of those who called themselves middle class said the biggest obstacles keeping them from achieving financial security are health-care costs, closely followed by housing and credit card debt, according to Elevate's report.
It's no wonder. In 2015, employees paid 134 percent more for health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical bills than they did a decade ago, according to a recent report from human resources company Aon Hewitt.
Meanwhile, home prices are once again on the rise, up 5.5 percent from a year ago, according to the most recent report Federal Housing Finance Agency. And credit card debt, which spiked during the Great Recession and then receded, is also heading higher — up 14 percent from last year, according to credit card-comparison website Card Hub.