Published 11:26 AM EDT Sep 10, 2019
Household income in America was largely stagnant in 2018 after rising for three straight years, while poverty fell and more people went without health insurance.
The median U.S. household income was $63,179, the Census Bureau said Tuesday, a figure that was roughly the same on an inflation-adjusted basis as the $61,372 median in 2017. That followed gains of 3.2% in 2016 and 1.8% in 2017.
Household income includes bonuses, Social Security, public assistance payments and interest and dividends from investment, among other sources.
The record 10-year-old economic expansion continued to provide jobs to more Americans, lifting many out of poverty. There were 38.1 million people living in poverty last year, about 1.4 million fewer than in 2017. The poverty rate fell for the fourth straight year, from 12.3% to 11.8%. For the first time in 11 years, the rate was significantly lower than in 2007, the year before the Great Recession.
The number of full-time, year-round workers increased by 2.3 million in 2018. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% at the end of last year from 4.1% 12 months earlier and 10% in 2009
Poverty fell in every region but the South, where the poverty rate was unchanged at 13.6%.
But for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014, more Americans went without health insurance. About 27.5 million people didn’t have coverage, up from 25.6 million the prior year as the share of those uninsured rose to 8.5% from 7.9%. The portion with government-provided coverage fell nearly half a percentage point while the share with private insurance was largely unchanged. The Trump administration has taken steps to weaken the health care law and issued guidance that allows states to take Medicaid from people who aren’t working a minimum number of hours each month.
While overall income was static, median inflation-adjusted earnings for all workers increased 3.4% to $40,247. The median pay for men rose 3.4% to $55,291 while the median for women climbed 3.3% to $45,097. Women earned 82% pf male pay on average, similar to 2017, Census said.
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