Researchers find sharp decline in poverty in U.S. despite census report

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The report underscores that in the final two years of the Obama administration, low- and middle-income Americans made noticeable progress after struggling in the early years of the economic recovery.

The median household income in the USA climbed to $59,039 past year, up 3.2 percent from 2015 after adjusting for inflation, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. This is the second consecutive annual increase in median household income. According to Meyer, income statistics have become increasingly inaccurate over time and consumption more accurately reflects well-being. The poverty rate fell a year ago to 12.7 percent from 13.5 percent, Census said. In particular, a number of programs that effectively make people less poor - like Medicaid, food stamps, and disability insurance - would likely drive up the poverty rate. Last year's three-year average was 16.1 percent. Additional brushstrokes added a historically high number of seniors, children staying at home longer and more generations than ever living under Canadian roofs, among other flourishes.

Among the race groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2016 ($81,431).

Median income is one measure of the vaguely defined "middle class" that political parties of all stripes have been clamouring to help.

During the 44-year period since 1973, income among women grew by roughly 30 percent as more skilled and trained women entered the market, gained experience, and were promoted to better-paying jobs.

It was the highest income level on record, but changes to the Current Population Survey questionnaire in 2013 prevent any definitive historical comparison, census officials said. The median is the point at which half the households fall below and half are above.

"The major cities are thriving".

"The 2016 real median earnings of men ($51,640) and women ($41,554) who worked full- time, year-round were not statistically different from their respective 2015 medians".

According to an important indicator of USA household incomes, Americans are now earning more than they did 17 years ago, the last time incomes reached a high.

The poverty rate in 2016 ticked down by 0.8 percentage point to 12.7 percent. And of course, with the future of the Affordable Care Act still up in the air, there's lots of uncertainty about where those numbers will be in the future.

The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization based in Washington, estimated that without the change in methodology, median household income was still roughly 2.3 percent below the record high - and 1.6 percent below the level reached in 2007.

That happened even in states like in, where the unemployment rate and poverty fell, she said.

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