The number of Americans living in poverty fell to 40.6 million from 43.1 million, lowering the poverty rate to 12.7% from 13.5% and placing it just marginally above the prerecession level. The U.S. economy added a total of 2 million jobs past year, ending with a 4.7% unemployment rate, down from 5% at the close of 2015.
Of 152 Census areas the agency tracks across the country, only nine places saw median household incomes drop in the last decade and eight of those are in Ontario. The top fifth earners in the country make the same amount as half the country's incomes at all levels combined.
The gender wage gap persists, of course, but there's been progress there, too. Again, a growing economy and job creation helped lift families above that number.
The rate of those without health insurance has declined by 4.6 percentage points since 2013, when most provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect.
But medical expenses increased the number of people in poverty by 10.5 million. If millions of Americans lose their health insurance, for example, or are forced to pay more for their plans, that will have a negative impact on just how far $59,039 can go.
In 2016, income gains were widely shared among people of all backgrounds, with minority groups enjoying some of the biggest boosts. In 2016, there were 2.5 million fewer people in poverty than in 2015, and 6 million fewer than in 2014.
There remains a wide disparity between states that opted to expand Medicaid and those that have not accepted the federal money offered under President Obama's health care law.
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. "Less than half (of the state's) doctors participate in the program", leading to long wait times to see a physician. With support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Supplemental Poverty Measure shows a different way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being.
The federal government defined children and adults as poor if they lived in households with an income below $24,339 previous year for a family of four.
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.
Nationwide, black households saw the most pronounced increase in median household income a year ago, at 5.7 percent ($39,490). Meanwhile, real median income only rose by 2 percent for non-Hispanic white households ($65,041) and did not increase for Asian households ($81,431).
According to the Census Bureau, 2016 marked the first year that the poverty rate was not significantly higher than in 2007, or prior to the Great Recession.
There were differences across regions as well.
Households with the highest median household incomes were in the Northeast ($64,390) and the West ($64,275), followed by the Midwest ($58,305) and the South ($53,861).