Even the Good News Looks Bad in the Census Bureau's New Poverty Report

For the first time since the start of the Great Recession, America's median household incomes and poverty levels didn't worsen. However, stagnant incomes weigh heavily on the majority of Americans, while the top earners continue to do well.
September 17, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"Last year, for the first time in half a decade, median household income did not fall and poverty did not rise, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in the release of its major annual report on poverty, insurance and earnings," reports Annie Lowrey. That's the supposed good news.

The most depressing element of the report "is the stagnant income growth among median-wage earners and lower," writes Next City's Bill Bradley. "Economic growth since 1967 has delivered rising incomes, but only for those above the median income level. All that inequality at the heart of mayoral races across the country and President Obama’s economic push? It’s a very real thing."

Writing in The Washington Post's "Wonkblog", Neil Irwin puts a different, but equally troubling, spin on long term household income trends. "In 1989, the median American household made $51,681 in current dollars (the 2012 number, again, was $51,017). That means that 24 years ago, a middle class American family was making more than the a middle class family was making one year ago," he notes. "This isn't a lost decade for economic gains for Americans. It is a lost generation."


Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 in The New York Times
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email