Median U.S. household income rose in 2017 despite falling inflation-adjusted earnings for full-time workers as the American economy continued its recovery from the 2008 recession, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.
The 2017 median income is the highest level reported by the Census Bureau, but the agency changed the methodology used to calculate the figure in 2013, complicating comparisons to prior years. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was up 1.8% from 2016, a much slower increase than in the previous two years but still the highest point on record. The percentage of people without health-insurance coverage for the entire 2017 calendar year was 8.8%, or 28.5 million, not statistically different from 2016.
The poverty rate dropped to 12.3 percent, marking a decrease in the poverty rate for the third year in a row, while the number of Americans working full-time jobs went up by 2.4 million in 2017.
"While any reduction in poverty or increase in income is a step in the right direction, most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade", said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. "In 2017, however, well-worn patterns of inequality reemerged, with stronger growth at the top than for typical households", Gould added.
The Census also reported that the US poverty rate declined modestly to 12.3 percent, the lowest level in years and a sign the economic devastation from the Great Recession is subsiding.