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Middle-Class Americans Made More In 2016 Than Ever In US History

15 September 2017
Middle-Class Americans Made More In 2016 Than Ever In US History

These gains might not be notable late in an economic expansion save for the fact that real median incomes declined while poverty increased during most of the Obama Presidency.

The strong job market drove the income increase, experts said. It found that Massachusetts' uninsured rate dropped in 2016, from 2.8 percent in 2015 to 2.5 percent previous year. This year's income and poverty report marks the 50th anniversary of the first poverty estimates released by the Census Bureau in the Current Population report series. It was also the highest median household income level ever recorded, after adjusting for inflation.

Still, the Census Bureau cautioned that comparing the figures was inexact because the agency in 2013 changed how it asks people about their income.

The median income figure is higher than the pre-recession peak of $58,149 in 2007; however, experts cautioned that the years can not be accurately compared because the census changed the questions they ask on the annual survey in 2014. Among Michigan's larger counties - Grand Traverse and Muskegon saw an increase in poverty, while 4 counties posted declines in poverty rates in 2016.

Still, a wide swath of Americans have benefited from the strengthening economy. It marked the second consecutive year that median household income increased.

And there were large regional discrepancies as well, with households in the South and West outperforming those in the Northeast - and all three leaving the Midwest far behind.

Other data in the report shows that the nation's poverty rates have barely budged since the 1960s, although many people in the United States are wealthier than many people n Europe. While that is an improvement, it still leaves 40.6 million Americans in poverty.

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.

(3) Earnings among male workers still lag more than a percentage point behind their 2007 level. The report says just over 10 percent of Asian Americans live in poverty. Hispanics saw their poverty rate fall to 19.4%, down from 21.4%. From 2012 to 2016, the percentage of New Jersey households with $15,000 or less in inflation-adjusted income dropped from 9.4 percent to 9 percent. One of President Donald Trump's major campaign promises was repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and there have been several attempts to do so, though none have succeeded.

That national poverty rate climbed, in part, because of the population of Latinos spiked from 10.8 million in 1973 to 57.6 million in 2016.

The number of people without health insurance also declined by 900,000 to 28.1 million.

"It's been good news for the past several years, but we're starting to get anxious about what could happen in the very near future", said Deb Polun, senior director of policy and outreach for the Community Health Center Association of CT. The rest had Medicare, Medicaid or military coverage.

MCEVERS: The census also reports that poverty declined a year ago, as I said. The most likely explanation is that people are working more.