The median US household income jumped last year to $61,400 – roughly matching what Americans were making before the great recession. The median income went up by 1.8% from 2016, the third year in a row it has increased. However, because of changes in the way incomes are measured, officials say incomes are about equal with what they were in 2007, before the financial crisis, and with the peaks reached in the late 1990s.
The gains do not mean that wages are improving – instead, it appears that Americans are working more.
The real median earnings of people working full-time and year-round actually fell by 1.1%, to $52,146 for men and $41,977 for women.
Incomes went up for people in the middle 'class', at the 50th percentile of income, and for those near the top, at the 90th percentile. But for some of the poorest Americans, those at the 10th percentile, incomes stayed flat, census officials said.
“Today’s data shows a marked slowdown in the pace of improvement relative to the previous two years. While any reduction in poverty or increase in income is a step in right direction, most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “Well-worn patterns of inequality reemerged, with stronger growth at the top than for typical households.”
Trudi Renwick, an assistant division chief at Census Bureau, told reporters, “It’s statistically tied with 1999 and 2007.” Trudi Renwick, an assistant division chief at Census Bureau, explained.
39.7 million people were living in poverty last year – a number that did not change significantly from the year before.
28.5 million people, went without health insurance for all of 2017. That was virtually unchanged from 2016.