Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Census Bureau: Median Incomes Climbing for First Time Since 2007

James Sullivan Median US Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year; Tops '07 Level
Kelvin Reese | 13 September, 2017, 00:38

The median US household's income finally topped pre-recession levels last year and has reached an all-time high after years of sluggish growth.

Median household income rose 3.2% when adjusted for inflation to $59,039, the second straight rise and a new all-time high, finally surpassing the previous record set in 1999. With that caveat in mind, Americans appear to be making only slightly more than they were in 1999, when income last peaked. The Census changed its questions in 2014 in order to capture more sources of income, so officials don't want to make comparisons over longer periods of time.

The U.S. poverty rate varies depending on household.

In addition, the nation's official poverty rate declined to 12.7 percent in 2016, a 0.8 percentage-point drop from the year before.

The median household income took a serious hit during and after the Great Recession. While that is an improvement, it still leaves 40.6 million Americans in poverty.

The median USA income has now posted solid gains for two straight years. State and county figures on income and poverty, as well as health insurance coverage for areas with populations of 65,000 or more, are to be released Thursday. Americans in the top 5 percent took home more than $375,000 in income past year, compared with just $12,943 for those in the bottom quintile. Nevertheless, the Census data indicates that the most recent income gains have pushed household income close to where it stood in 2007.

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The percentage of people without health insurance was 8.8%, a decline of 0.3%.

More than 40.6 million people in the United States were living in poverty past year, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015 and 6.0 million fewer than in 2014, Census said.

The report found that the gender gap in wages narrowed a year ago for the first time since 2007.

Among the many ethnic groups in the United States, Asians have the highest median family incomes, little changed from prior years ($81,431). Women earned 80.5 percent of men's earnings, up from 79.6 percent in 2015.

It's important to note the Census data reports on 2016 income and poverty rates, which means the information doesn't reflect the policies of Mr. Trump, who was inaugurated in January 2017.

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