US Median Income Hits All-Time High

(CN) – The U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday the nation’s median household income reached just over $59,000 in 2016, the highest figure the agency has ever measured.

Overall, the government said, the median income number was up 3.2 percent over the previous year, handily besting the old record, set in 1999, when adjusted for inflation.

Households led by Asian Americans held a median income of $81,400 a year, the highest of any ethnic group, the bureau said.

Non-Hispanic white households made a median income of $65,000. The median income in black households rose 5.7 percent, to $39,500 a year, while Hispanic households made a $47,700 median income.

Seven percent of American households pulled in more than $200,000 in 2016, another record=breaking mark, when adjusted for inflation.

At the same time, the number of American households that made less than $15,000 a year dipped to 11.2 percent, the lowest percentage since 2007.

The new data show the income gap between men and women shrinking to an all-time low. Women earn 80.5 percent of the wages that men make, the Census Bureau said, a marked improvement from 1992, when women made only 70.8 percent of the wages men made.

The Census Bureau said the number of Americans living in poverty had declined to 40.8 million, or 12.7 percent, the second consecutive annual decline in poverty rates.

Since 2014, the poverty rate has declined from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.

But there was also sobering news on poverty in Tuesday’s report.

One-in-five blacks  and 19.4 percent of Hispanic Americans live in poverty, the Census Bureau said.

That compares to only 8. percent of non-Hispanic white living in households that make less than the $24,339-a-year barrier than the agency relies on to define poverty. The report says just over 10 percent of Asian Americans live in poverty.

The new Census report also takes a look at health insurance coverage in America.

The bureau says the number of insured hit an all-time high in 2016, reaching 91.2 percent.

The rate of those without health insurance has declined by 4.6 percentage points since 2013, when most provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect.

There remains a wide disparity between states that opted to expand Medicaid and those that have not accepted the federal money offered under President Obama’s health care law. Among the 31 states and the District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rate is just 6.5 percent. Among states that did not expand Medicaid, the rate is 11.7 percent.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have uninsured rates below eight percent. Only two states — Texas and Alaska — have uninsured rates over 14 percent, the Census Bureau said.

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