Recession Officially Over for Median Household Income

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According to an important indicator of USA household incomes, Americans are now earning more than they did 17 years ago, the last time incomes reached a high.

The Census Bureau said the number of Americans living in poverty had declined to 40.8 million, or 12.7 percent, the second consecutive annual decline in poverty rates.

Syracuse's poverty rate increased last year from 31 percent to 32.1 percent, with its ranking of 13 nationwide up from 29 a year ago.

And while the poverty rate has been dropping since it peaked at 11.4 percent in 2013, it is still about 2 points higher than in 2007, the low point of the past decade, when just 8.6 percent of New Jerseyans were considered poor.

"Income is up or holding steady in every state in the nation", Dave Waddington, a Census Bureau division chief, said in a news release.

Syracuse's 2016 poverty rate was 13 worst in the United States, the Census Bureau reported today. Black households saw their median income rise almost 6 percent, and Hispanic households more than 4 percent - both better than the national average. It was the second straight year of wallet-filling increases for families, adding up to the best two-year period since the 1960s.

In all but the largest states, the margin of error around the income numbers is in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. Older millennials (aged 25 to 34 years) also saw respectable growth to their median incomes.

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New Hampshire had the highest median income of any state in the U.S.in 2016. Sara Kimberlin, a senior policy analyst at the center, said fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the most populated parts of the state is more than $1,500 a month.

When you try to adjust for the question changes, what you actually find is that the median household income remains slightly lower than it was before the recession in 2007, and well below the high from 1999. For example, if a billionaire were to move into a middle-class neighborhood, median income - the exact midpoint of households in the area, at which half earn above and half earn below - would remain basically the same. How the Census Bureau defines poverty depends on household.

Median household income increased by 3.2 percent, from $57,230 to $59,039.

MCEVERS: OK, so let's start with that median income number. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 81 cents to the dollar when rounded up, a slight increase from the 2015 ratio of 80 cents to the dollar, taking account of rounding. First, the increase in real household income appears to be driven not by an increase in wage rates, but by an increase in full-time, year-round employment.

A measure of income inequality, called the Gini index, wasn't statistically different at 0.481. The report says just over 10 percent of Asian Americans live in poverty.

Growth in incomes isn't always tied to more people, Statistics Canada is quick to note. Along with the decline in the official poverty rate is a decline in the actual number of people in poverty. Alabama's poverty level pre-recession was 16.6 percent. Hispanics saw their poverty rate fall to 19.4%, down from 21.4%. In Laredo, which had the highest share, 45 percent of children live in poverty. Children represented 23.0 percent of the total population and 32.6 percent of the people in poverty. The report shows that between 1960 and 2016, consumption poverty fell by 27 percentage points.

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