Economy

Median US Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year; Tops '07 Level

Median US Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year; Tops '07 Level

The poverty rate in the United States dropped previous year to 12.7 percent, the lowest level since before the recession a decade ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

And because last year also saw income growth, "these are two consecutive years of strong income gains", the Census Bureau's Trudi Renwick told reporters. Among Latinos, it rose to 4.3 percent to $47,675.

Family households have a real median income of $75,062, and non-family households bring in $35,761. For another, the slightest tweak to the policies that affect middle class finances could tip millions of Americans out of their comfortable income tax bracket into the vast gulf on the other side. Private coverage also increased as companies hired more workers and offered better benefits.

"The challenge for policymakers now is to build on the last few years' progress and not worsen poverty and inequality", said Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research organization. Median, inflation-adjusted earnings largely tread water.

Jumps to median income varied wildly throughout the province. Half the people earn above the line, half the people earn below the line. That means households were more likely to include a full-time worker.

The increased number of older Americans living in poverty could be due to the aging of the baby boomer generation, Americans born between 1946 and 1964. And of course, with the future of the Affordable Care Act still up in the air, there's lots of uncertainty about where those numbers will be in the future.

Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the CBPP, said the gains among African-Americans typically occur later in an economic recovery as employers widen their searches and step up hiring among traditionally disadvantaged groups.

The details are provided on Table A-4, on page 49 of this PDF.

But black households also saw the strongest gains past year, with the median rising by 5.7% from 2015 to 2016.

"They reflect the impact of sustained job growth and the help safety net programs provide to low-income families trying to grab the next rung on the ladder", he said. Since then, income has slowly climbed back to $42,220 in 2016 amid the continuous public protest against the federal government's cheap-labor economic strategy, which is exemplified by the bipartisan 2013 "Gang of Eight" amnesty legislation.

That happened even in states like in, where the unemployment rate and poverty fell, she said.

The US poverty rate simultaneously declined about 1% to 12.7%, returning to almost the same level as in 2007, prior to the recession.

The new data shows California had the highest supplemental poverty rate in the nation in 2016 - 20.4 percent, compared to Texas' 14.7 percent. The lowest it has been in recent decades was 11.3% in 2000. The number of people without health insurance declined to 28.1 million from 29.0 million over the period.

Among the race groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2016 ($81,431). Those in the 90th percentile of earnings saw their real incomes grow roughly 10.6 percent. In 2007, 17.0 percent of all households were shared households, totaling 19.7 million households.