The U.S. poverty rate fell for the second straight year in 2016 while median income rose to an all-time high of $59,000 as the economy made up ground lost during the 2007-2009 recession, federal government data released on Tuesday showed.
Median household income, meanwhile, rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from 2015 and the second consecutive annual increase in the category, the Census Bureau said.
Of those with coverage previous year, just over two-thirds of Americans had private insurance, mostly from their employers. However, the Census Bureau changed its methodology in 2014, so the record isn't definitive. Since 1967, however, incomes for those in the top five percent nearly doubled, while the median income has risen by less than one third. The Census also calculates the "supplemental" poverty rate, a more comprehensive measure introduced in 2011 that takes into account taxation, how the cost of living varies across geographical areas, and government benefits. The South and the Western regions of the USA saw the biggest income increases, while the Northeast and Midwest saw no statistically significant change at all.
Family households have a real median income of $75,062, and non-family households bring in $35,761. Overall, the story was pretty upbeat in 2016, the a year ago of President Barack Obama's term.
Sheldon Danziger, head of the Russell Sage Foundation poverty research group, said "expanding the earned income tax credit. and more spending on badly needed infrastructure and early childhood education" would lift employment and productivity.
Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. Still, almost 41 million Americans remained in poverty in 2016.
The percentage of people without health insurance for the entire calendar year of 2016 was 8.8 percent, or 28.1 million people, a 0.3 percent decrease from 2015.
More than 40.6 million people in the United States were living in poverty past year, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015 and 6.0 million fewer than in 2014, Census said. Asians, who have the highest median income of $81,500, did not see a statistically significant change in income. Women earned 80.5 percent of men's earnings, up from 79.6 percent in 2015.