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

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

Median household income rose to just over $59,000 in 2016, up 3.2% from a year earlier, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday. And at the same time, the poverty rate was down in 2016 and fewer Americans were without health insurance.

Based on years of research, Meyer and Sullivan on Tuesday published alternative, consumption-based estimates in the inaugural University of Chicago/University of Notre Dame Consumption Poverty Report.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Kelly. Tell me more about that.

Median household income in the United States in 2016 was $59,039, an increase in real terms of 3.2 percent from the 2015 median income of $57,230.

Census officials cautioned that median income figures since 2013 are hard to compare directly with previous years because of a change in how the Census Bureau collects income data. That's the best two-year gain on records dating to 1967, according to analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And get this, Kelly; they're at the same level they were at the end of the tech boom in 1999.

(1) The increase in the median household income was powered by increases in employment, not in wage growth. Looking at poverty patterns in the USA from the early 1960s to 2016, the researchers found contradictory results to studies that have shown little improvement in poverty over time or that antipoverty measures have been ineffective. The average income in that group was more than $375,000, up more than 5.5% from 2015. This is the second annual increase in median household income for these households.

YDSTIE: Well, there's some good news there, too.

The income gains reflect mostly a rise in the number of Americans with jobs and in people working full time, the agency said.

The Census Bureau's "Supplemental Poverty Measure" looks at the burden placed on households such as housing, taxes and medical costs. The decline in poverty was the largest for children. The U.S. economy added a total of 2 million jobs previous year, ending with a 4.7% unemployment rate, down from 5% at the close of 2015. Median incomes went up 11.2 per cent in Vancouver.

YDSTIE: Yes, it did.

Nearly all demographic groups saw improvement in poverty figures. That was among people 65 and older.

More detailed income data about immigrants and Indigenous Peoples, both on and off-reserve, is scheduled for release next month.

MCEVERS: These federal programs we hear so much about. Data for this year to measure the impact of the Liberal's $23-billion-a-year child benefit program won't be available for at least three more years. What's the news there? The number in poverty increased from 4.2 million to 4.6 million between 2015 and 2016. That's a slight improvement.

The percentage of Americans with health insurance also dropped in 2016, to 8.8% from 9.1% in 2015.

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