Middle-Class Americans Made More In 2016 Than Ever In US History

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Incomes for a typical US household, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to $59,039, the Census Bureau said.

In 2016, the average annual household income was $59,039 - an increase of 3.2 percent over 2015's, which was $57,230. After two straight years of solid income gains, the median American household last year essentially earned the same as it did in 1999, when incomes peaked at $58,665. But Census officials cautioned against comparing the figures because the bureau has changed its methodology over the years.

It also was the first year since the recession that the poverty rate was no statistically different than it was before the crash in 2007.

The median household income took a serious hit during and after the Great Recession.

One interesting measure to look at is the real income growth from 2008 to 2016, the years spanning former President Barack Obama's two terms in the White House.

Since 2014, the bureau noted, the national poverty rate has fallen 2.1 percentage points - going from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent. Tom Hirschl, sociologist and co-author of "Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes", says that while the numbers today reflect an incremental improvement, middle-class and working-class Americans still feel insecure about their economic future. State and county figures on income and poverty, as well as health insurance coverage for areas with populations of 65,000 or more, are to be released Thursday. Nevertheless, the Census data indicates that the most recent income gains have pushed household income close to where it stood in 2007.

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Asian-Americans reported the highest household incomes, at $81,431, which was little changed from 2015.

Some 28.1 million people lacked health insurance in 2016, down from 41.8 million in 2013.

As a result, 40.6 million people now live below the poverty line, 2.5 million fewer than the year before, in the second consecutive decrease in poverty.

The report found that the gender gap in wages narrowed a year ago for the first time since 2007.

The gap between the earnings of women and men narrowed slightly in 2016, with women now earning just more than 80 cents for every dollar men earn.

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