Census Bureau: Poverty Rate Down, Median Incomes Up

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More Americans are making more money.

The Census Bureau released new numbers on Tuesday showing that, after a brutal economic recession and years of stagnation, real median household incomes rose from $53,718 in 2014 to $56,516 last year. That’s a 5.2 percent rise — the first statistically significant increase since 2007.

The official poverty rate decreased to 13.5 percent for last year, a drop of 1.2 percentage points. That represents 3.5 million people who are no longer in poverty and is the largest annual percentage point drop since 1999, the Census Bureau says.

The supplemental poverty measure — an alternate way of gauging poverty, that takes more factors into account — also dropped significantly, falling by 1 percentage point, to 14.3 percent.

“Poverty dropped for whites, blacks and Hispanics, as well as for children and seniors,” NPR’s Pam Fessler reports.

The number of people with health insurance also rose. More than 90 percent of Americans are covered by health insurance — an increase of 1.3 percentage points since 2014, and growth of 4.3 percentage points since the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the Bureau says.

Last year, 29 million people did not have health insurance, representing 9.1 percent of the population.

Across the board, the Census Bureau’s 2015 numbers show significant signs of progress and reflect a recovering economy.

The 5.2 percent increase in median household income was impressive — “one of the largest year-to-year increases that we’ve ever had,” Trudi Renwick of the Census Bureau said.

Income rose in every region of the country, for every age group of household head and for every racial group except for Asians.

But as The New York Times‘ Nate Cohn points out, rural America didn’t experience the same growth as the rest of the country. The median income for people living outside of metropolitan areas dropped 2 percent, to $44,657.

The Census Bureau also looked at economic inequality, where measures did not show any statistically significant changes.

The difference in income between men and women also did not change by any statistically significant degree. But it did move slightly — from 79 cents on the dollar to 80 cents on the dollar.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/13/493751949/census-bureau-poverty-rate-down-median-incomes-up?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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