Census Bureau: Median Incomes Climbing for First Time Since 2007

Census Bureau

Census Bureau

Information released by the U.S. Census Bureau today shows a more than 3 percent increase in the median household income. Black families saw their median income climb 5.7% in 2016 to $39,500, while Hispanic households had a 4.3% increase to $47,675.

"Real median household income has finally completed its nine-year slog of digging out of the ditch", IHS Markit Executive Director Chris Christopher said, with more gains expected in 2017 and 2018.

However, according to Renwick, the Census Bureau cautions against making comparisons to income figures from before 2014 due to a change in how the data were collected.

The official poverty rate varies depending on household size and income.

It also was the first year since the recession that the poverty rate was no statistically different than it was before the crash in 2007.

Meanwhile, the nation's official household poverty rate - or families of four living on less than $24,339 with two adults - was 12.7 percent, down 0.8 points from the year before. Overall, the story was pretty upbeat in 2016, the previous year of President Barack Obama's term.

By at least one measure, the great recession that started in December 2007 was officially recovered from by the time President Obama left office, the New York Times reports.

Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. It's the second consecutive year the US has seen an increase.

The income gains reflect mostly a rise in the number of Americans with jobs and in people working full time, the agency said.

The percentage of Americans with health insurance also dropped in 2016, to 8.8% from 9.1% in 2015.

Sheldon Danziger, head of the Russell Sage Foundation poverty research group, said "expanding the earned income tax credit. and more spending on badly needed infrastructure and early childhood education" would lift employment and productivity.

The number of people in poverty nationally in 2016 was 40.6 million, which was 2.5 million fewer than in 2015, the bureau said.

Among racial groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2016, at $81,431. Women earned 80.5 percent of men's earnings, up from 79.6 percent in 2015.

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