The Census Bureau has released its annual report on household income in the U.S. and the economists and politician and media are cock-a-hoop about its findings. The poorest 10% of Americans have seen their cumulative earnings rise by 7.9 per cent in 2015. Nearly a million fewer Americans were reported as living under the poverty threshold. Americans at nearly every income level, in nearly every part of the country, saw their incomes rise an average of 5.2 per cent, to a median of $56,500—a huge nationwide increase for a one-year period and the first time since 2007 that average household income rose at all. Non-Hispanic white, black, and Hispanic households, all made more in 2015 than in 2014. Young people and older people, women and men, immigrants and the native-born all saw their incomes rise. Major urban areas had an increase in income of 7.3 per cent.
But remove the rose-tinted glasses and the figures show average household incomes are still less than they were in 2007, after adjusting for inflation. And, in 2007, average household income was less than what it had been in 1999.
So another way of looking at the report is that household income in 2015 was almost exactly the same as it was in 1998.