Thursday, September 14, 2017

Some Good News On Median Income And Poverty In The U.S.

See Median U.S. Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year by BINYAMIN APPELBAUM of The NY Times. Excerpts:
"American households saw strong income growth last year, the [Census] bureau reported, and the gains stretched across the economic spectrum. A closely watched measure, median household income, jumped for the second straight year, reaching $59,039 — a 3.2 percent increase after inflation.

The bureau also reported that the percentage of Americans living in poverty continued to fall last year, while the share with health insurance continued to increase."

"Household incomes are outpacing wage growth because millions of Americans have returned to the work force, a vivid illustration of the old maxim that a job is the best antipoverty program. The economy added roughly 2.2 million jobs last year and an additional 1.4 million in the first eight months of this year.

The Census Bureau report is the second in a row to find strong income growth. A year ago, the bureau reported that the median income in 2015 had risen by 5.2 percent, the largest jump since record keeping began in 1967. The 2016 gains described on Tuesday pushed the median to the highest level on record, topping the previous peak in 1999.

But Census Bureau officials cautioned that those figures were not directly comparable because of a change in its methodology in 2013 that has tended to increase measured incomes.

The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization based in Washington, estimated that without the change in methodology, median household income in 2016 was still 2.4 percent lower than in 1999 — and 1.6 percent below the level reached in 2007, before the recession began."

"The Census Bureau reported that 12.7 percent of households lived in poverty in 2016, representing a total of 40.6 million people. That was down from 13.5 percent of households and 43.1 million people in 2015. But the rate remains slightly higher than the 12.5 percent rate in 2007, before the recession, and significantly higher than the 11.3 percent rate in 2000."

For an alternate view see U.S. Median Household Income: The Myths Of Recovery by Constantin Gurdgiev. Gurdgiev is a Professor of Finance (Visiting) at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Finance with Trinity College, Dublin and has lectured in Economics at University College Dublin and Johns Hopkins University.

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