Friday, 24 November, 2017

Middle class income in the US tops $59000, a 3.2 percent jump

American families finally earn more than they did in 1999 Median US Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year; Tops '07 Level
Preston Stone | 13 September, 2017, 00:37

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

The median household income was $59,000, up 3.2 percent from 2015.

There was no significant change in income inequality for the year, with the top five percent of households bringing in $225,252 or more a year while the bottom quintile earned $24,003 or less.

The Census data said it changed its income questions in 2014, which makes it hard to make comparisons before that year. In 2015, household incomes rose 5.2%, the largest increase since records began in 1967. The U.S. economy added a total of 2 million jobs previous year, ending with a 4.7% unemployment rate, down from 5% at the close of 2015.

"Over the past several decades Census Bureau reports have found that the average one year risk of poverty tends to vary between 11 and 15 percent".

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The median household income took a serious hit during and after the Great Recession. This is the first time since the recession that the poverty rate isn't statistically different from the 2007 level of 12.5%, a sign of how the USA economy has recovered from the Great Recession. Nevertheless, the Census data indicates that the most recent income gains have pushed household income close to where it stood in 2007. In addition, the number of people without health insurance went from 29 million to 28 million between 2015 and 2016.

"This has been two consecutive years of very strong income growth", said Trudy Renwick, assistant division chief at Census. About 1.2 million more Americans earned income in 2016 than in 2015, and 2.2 million more had full-time year-round jobs.

And the proportion of Americans without health insurance declined to 8.8 percent, the report showed, down from 9.1 percent. While that is an improvement, it still leaves 40.6 million Americans in poverty.

"Real median household income has finally completed its nine-year slog of digging out of the ditch", said Chris Christopher, executive director of IHS Markit.

The gap between the earnings of women and men narrowed slightly in 2016, with women now earning just more than 80 cents for every dollar men earn.

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