Women’s Pay Rises Accompanied by Rise in Overall Income Inequality, Says Census

     The U.S. Census Bureau released two reports Tuesday showing the pay ratio of women to men hit an all time high of 78% in 2007 and median household income climbed 1.3% in inflation-adjusted terms to reach $50,233. The reports also detail a diverging society with a rise in income inequality and a rise in youth poverty.

     The Current Population Survey analyzes trends of the nation, while the American Community Survey provides state, county, and city statistics. Both cover the changes of household-income, poverty, and insurance coverage from 2006 to 2007.
     In 2007, the median household income rose for Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites, representing the first measured real increase in annual household income since 1999 for these two groups. The household income for Asians and Hispanics remained about the same, leaving Asians with the highest annual income of $66,103 per household. Non-Hispanic Whites came next with $54,920, then Hispanics at $38,679, and Blacks at $33,916.
     In 2007, 18% of people younger than 18 lived in poverty. While the proportion of youth living in poverty increased, the percentage of 18-65 year-olds stayed around 11%, and that of people older than 65 hovered at 9.7%. For a two-parent family, poverty is defined as earning an annual income of $21,027 or less.
     On the other hand, fewer children are uninsured, declining .7% in 2006 to rest at 11% in 2007. This matches a recent increase in the number of people with government sponsored health-insurance.
     For racial groups, the only rise seen in the percentage of uninsured was among Asians, from 15% to 16.8%. Levels of uninsured Hispanics and Blacks fell to about 32% and 19.5% respectively, and non-Hispanic Whites stayed at 10.4%.
     The gender pay-gap continued to close. After three consecutive years of annual decline in real earnings, men reported a 3.8% increase to $45, 113, compared to women’s 5% increase to $35,102 between 2006 and 2007. The District of Colombia has the highest ratio of women’s-to-men’s earnings in the nation, at 93.4%, which is not statistically significant.
     Income inequality continued its increase last year. In 2007, 10% of people earned below $12,200, 40% of people earned between $12,200 and $136,000, and 10% earned above $136,000.
     On the state level, Mississippi had the highest poverty rate, at 20.6%. New Hampshire had the lowest, at 7.1%.
     Michigan is the only state where median household income declined, and where poverty rates rose.
     The Midwest is the only region where the ratio of uninsured has remained the same. The West, Northeast, and South have all experienced a drop. Regardless, the South still has 18.4% of its population uninsured, the highest in the nation.

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