US Poverty Rate Falls, Median Income Rises in 2016

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Information released by the U.S. Census Bureau today shows a more than 3 percent increase in the median household income.

The income growth, however, likely stems from more people returning to work and more moving up to full-time jobs, as opposed to workers getting significant raises, said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Among racial groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2016, at $81,431.

And now for the buzzkill portion of this post: this means household income has increased a whopping 0.6 percent since 1999.

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The median household income took a serious hit during and after the Great Recession.

More than 40.6 million people in the United States were living in poverty previous year, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015 and 6.0 million fewer than in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau said in its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage.

When the Census Bureau released figures a year ago, the nation's 2015 median income showed a more dramatic increase, rising 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015. The South and the Western regions of the USA saw the biggest income increases, while the Northeast and Midwest saw no statistically significant change at all. Those in the median and bottom 10th percentile of earners saw their real incomes grow 5.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The median income of whites rose 2% year-over-year to $65,000. The lowest it has been in recent decades was 11.3% in 2000. That's $22 per year. There are just seven states that now have 12% or more of their population uninsured, down from 31 states in 2013, ahead of the introduction of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Households gained the most on the Northeast and West, but the median income was essentially flat in the Midwest and actually declined in the South. The rest had Medicare, Medicaid or military coverage. The official poverty measure dropped to 12.7 percent, down from 13.5 percent last year, and 14.8 percent the year before that. Still, almost 41 million Americans remained in poverty in 2016. The slight improvement still leaves 28.1 million people without coverage.