Today, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the American peoples' 2016 experience with poverty, median income and health insurance. The lack of meaningful raises has left many people feeling left behind economically, a sentiment that factored into the 2016 elections.
Among racial groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2016, at $81,431.
However, according to Renwick, the Census Bureau cautions against making comparisons to income figures from before 2014 due to a change in how the data were collected. Since 1967, however, incomes for those in the top five percent nearly doubled, while the median income has risen by less than one third. That puts the median household income above where it was in 2007 before the recession hit.
The number of people in poverty nationally in 2016 was 40.6 million, which was 2.5 million fewer than in 2015, the bureau said.
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The median household income was $59,000, up 3.2 percent from 2015.
According to the EPI's analysis of Census states the median income of non-elderly households is still well behind the peak reached in 2000 at $69,890, and she said it was "problematic" that men's wages had stalled in 2016.
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. The 2016 figure is not statistically different than the 2007 rate, the bureau said. Expansion states had an average uninsured rate of 6.5%, while the average rate in non-expansion states was 11.7%. After two straight years of solid income gains, the median American household last year essentially earned the same as it did in 1999, when incomes peaked at $58,665. The rest had Medicare, Medicaid or military coverage. Republicans in Congress narrowly failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the law that extends insurance to millions of Americans. Americans in the top 5 percent took home more than $375,000 in income previous year, compared with just $12,943 for those in the bottom quintile.
"While these numbers reflect incremental improvement, they have not cancelled out peoples' experience with the most recent economic downturn".