Median household incomes just surged for the first time since 2007

Median household incomes just surged for the first time since 2007, according to the latest US Census report on income and poverty in the US.

The median household income rose in real terms by 5.2% to $56,516 in 2015, up from the 2014 median of $53,718 (the green line on the chart below). This was the largest increase on record, according to University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers.

Looking under the hood of the data, from 2014 to 2015 the real median income for:

  • Non-Hispanic white households increased by 4.4%
  • Black households increased by 4.1%
  • Hispanic-origin households increased by 6.1% 
  • Asian households had no statistically significant change

Plus, this was the first annual increase for non-Hispanic white and Black households since 2007, according to the Census.

However, real median household income was still 1.6% lower than in 2007. And it’s 2.4% lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999. This suggests that things are getting better, but aren’t back to their late ’90s highs.

Also notably, the number of households living in poverty dropped by 1.2 percentage points from 2014 to 2015 to 3.5 million.

And, perhaps the most stunning fact of all was the broadly distributed nature of the income increase, pointed out by Wolfers:

 


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