The middle class used to be fairly easy to define: an affordable home, good schools, a little money saved for a family vacation. But today, almost half of all Americans live with certain anxiety because of an uncertain economy.   

That's why WGBH News is focusing on "Rediscovering the Middle Class" in a year-long, multimedia series across radio, TV and online.

"Public media is the only place where you can get a deep examination of what it means to be in the middle," says Ted Canova, WGBH managing director for news.

The series kicked off with a look at Boston's disappearing middle class, focusing on a new high-rise in Chinatown and the contrast between the lives of the people living inside it and those living in its shadow. It follows with an exploration of neighboring South Shore towns at a crossroads -- one struggling with its transformation from working-class haven into middle-class destination (Hull) and another conflicted about its growing affluence (Hingham). 

"In these first reports we've already seen that education, the type of home you lives in and where and even what brand of beer you drink says a lot about what we identify as middle class," says senior reporter Phillip Martin. "Over the next several months, we'll be able to create a more complex picture about who the middle class is today and how that has changed."

View video below of what it means to be middle class from WGBH 2's Greater Boston and if you'd like to contribute your own story or ideas to the series, submit via PIN