NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Household Income Sinks to 1995 Level

September 17, 2012

According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual household income has fallen to 1995 levels due to the poor economic growth the nation is experiencing. The report also covers other economic concerns such as poverty rates and health care, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • The median annual household income has fallen for the fourth straight year to $50,054 in 2011.
  • This is 8.9 percent lower than the peak of the median income, which was $54,932 in 1999.

Despite this, the report's findings on the poverty rate were positive.

  • The poverty rate held steady for the first time in four years in 2011.
  • The official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent.
  • But that fell to 15 percent in 2011.
  • Furthermore, the report doesn't capture the income gains made in 2012 or the gain in assets, which have also helped many families.
  • Moreover, the report does not include measures such as subsidized rent or the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would have put the poverty rate at 13.2 percent.

The report shows many gains made by Americans in health care.

  • The number of uninsured Americans dropped from 50 million in 2010 to 48.6 million in 2011.
  • This brings the uninsured rate down from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent.
  • The number of those insured by the government rose to 32.2 percent in 2011 from 31.2 percent in 2010.
  • The share of people covered by private insurers remained flat, at 63.9 percent in 2011 compared to the 64 percent in 2010.
  • The drop in the uninsured rate may be because the falling incomes of families have qualified them for Medicaid.
  • Forty percent of the drop in the uninsured rate came from gains in coverage by the 19-to 25-year-old age group, which can now stay on their parents' health plans.

Source: Conor Dougherty and Anna Wilde Mathews, "Household Income Sinks to '95 Level," Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2012.


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