The Census Bureau has finally gotten around to calculating household income for 2016, and the news is good: adjusted for inflation, income was up 3.2 percent past year. Black households saw their incomes rise by 5.7 percent in 2016, to $39,490, compared to 2 percent for white households, which now earn $65,041.
In a stark reminder of the damage done by the Great Recession and of the modest recovery that followed, the median American household previous year finally earned more than it did in 1999. Hispanic households have a real median income of $47,675.
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. The 12.7 percent poverty rate in 2016 was a decrease of 0.8 percentage points from 13.5 percent in 2015, it said.
The median household income took a serious hit during and after the Great Recession.
Despite the income gains of the past two years, he added, the economy "has been broken for a long time" due to rising income inequality, a trend that is still evident in Census's latest data.
The Census report covers 2016, the a year ago of the Obama administration, and underline the strength of the economic recovery he oversaw after the worst recession in living memory. The official poverty measure dropped to 12.7 percent, down from 13.5 percent last year, and 14.8 percent the year before that.
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 percentage of people without health insurance for the entire calendar year of 2016 was 8.8 percent, or 28.1 million people, a 0.3 percent decrease from 2015.
In the United States, family incomes are up, the poverty rate is down, and the number of people covered by health insurance has improved. According to EPI's estimates, which compensates for the difference in income measurement before 2014, the median household earned about $59,992 in 2007, slightly more than the $59,039 reported in 2016.
The report found that the gender gap in wages narrowed past year for the first time since 2007. Women now make 80.5 cents to every $1 earned by men, or an increase of 1.1 percent from 2015.