Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Some Good News in Latest Census Report

The annual Census report on income, poverty, and health insurance always has interesting data--though sometimes its data are more depressing than inspiring.  The Census report released today (and covering 2016) has some good news.

Perhaps the big takeaway: The inflation-adjusted, median household income has, for the first time, exceeded the median household income of 1999.  In 2016, it was $59,039; in 1999, it was $58,665.  Granted, this is only a 0.6 percent increase (or about 0.004 percent a year), but it is an improvement nevertheless.  Households lower on the income spectrum still remain below their earlier peaks (and higher-income households are well above their earlier peaks), but at least the median is now up.

The poverty rate is also down from 2015 (falling from 13.5 percent to 12.7 percent); the poverty rate is now where it was in 2004.

But it's not all rainbows and sunshine.  The median earnings of full-time male workers actually fell between 2015 and 2016--from $51,859 to $51,640.  That discrepancy could be within the margin of error, but, when adjusted for inflation, the full-time median male earnings have been stagnant for decades; full-time female worker earnings have gone up more substantially over the past forty years (by about $10,000).

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