Friday, 22 September, 2017

Census: Income up, poverty, uninsured down

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets Sikorsky Aircraft workers in September 2016 in Stratford Conn. while announcing a deal with Lockheed Martin Corp. to keep Sikorsky in the state through 2032. In 2016 the Northeast did not keep pace with a 3.2 percent increas American families finally earn more than they did in 1999
Dexter Carr | 15 September, 2017, 00:23

The median income figure is higher than the pre-recession peak of $58,149 in 2007; however, experts cautioned that the years can not be accurately compared because the census changed the questions they ask on the annual survey in 2014.

Household incomes grew strongly in 2016, rising 3.2 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Other characteristics that correlate with lower incomes were also associated with larger declines in poverty.

The official federal poverty line is based on food costs and adjusts for family size and age of householder.

"Many factors that are critical components of well-being, such as home ownership, auto ownership, and the ability to borrow and save, are much better captured by consumption than income", Meyer said. Last year, 6.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites were living below the poverty limit, compared with 18.6 percent of Hispanics and 17.4 percent of blacks. But many experts said that is so because of other factors, such as men working longer and women leaving the workforce to have and raise children.

The nation's official poverty rate in 2016 was 12.7 percent, with 40.6 million people in poverty, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015. African-American and Hispanic households saw stronger gains than non-Hispanic whites.

Another measurement was on health insurance. "We are already at a 16-year low in unemployment".

But in 2016, which experienced the worst of the oil bust, tens of thousands of people lost high-paying jobs, likely holding back both of those energy-focused cities.

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Economists, however, have been frustrated by the overall pace of wage growth, which has remained sluggish despite continuous job creation over a seven years.

So far, no such boom can be found. The share of poor children in some areas of the state with the highest rates of child poverty dropped.

Much of Trump's agenda remains pending, however, either awaiting action by his administration or bogged down in Congress. There's also some concern that more insurers will leave Access Health CT, the insurance exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act.

For now, though, the economy is returning to pre-recession levels, as indicated by several benchmarks. And in July, U.S. employers had generated enough jobs to restore national employment to where it stood before the recession started in 2007, even after accounting for population growth in the intervening decade.

Average household income fell from about $73,384 to $71,375, suggesting slower growth of upper end earnings.

The supplemental poverty measure, which we discussed briefly on Tuesday, does take cost of living into account, as well as taxes and welfare programs. The agency reports that in 1999, median household income, adjusted for inflation, was $58,655.

A challenge: The Census Bureau changed its methodology in 2013. It's a disparity that still translates to about $10,000 less in median earnings for women compared with men, and it has held mostly steady for several years. In addition, a number of states raised their minimum wages over the past two years, boosting compensation for some at the bottom of the pay scale.

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