Household Income Rose Over 5% in 2015, Nearing Pre-Recession Levels

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The U.S. Census has now released much data on household income, poverty, health insurance and other key data for 2015 versus 2014. That data may still be somewhat incomplete, with so many tax returns still outstanding before the October 15 deadline. Still, the good news here is that household income posted a sharp rise in 2015.

Tuesday’s data dump from the Census included one very key point that economists, investors, consumers and even members of the Federal Reserve should cheer. Median household income in the United States in 2015 was $56,516. In real terms, this represented a 5.2% gain from the $53,718 median household income of $53,718 from 2014.

Another positive is that this marked the first real annual increase in median household income since 2007.

Other data was shown as well:

  • The official poverty rate was 13.5% in 2015, down 1.2 points and down 3.5 million (with 43.1 million people in poverty). That was the largest annual percentage point drop in poverty since 1999.
  • Real median incomes of $72,165 in 2015 for family households and $33,805 for nonfamily households were up 5.3% and 5.4%, respectively, versus median data from 2014.
  • The official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5%, down 1.2 percentage points from 14.8% in 2014, but 2015’s poverty rate was 1.0 percentage point higher than in 2007 right before the Great Recession.
  • The real median income of households maintained by a foreign-born person increased by 5.3% while the median income of households maintained by a native-born person increased 4.4% from 2014 to 2015.

This does represent good news. Still, it is not back to before the recession. The Census report said:

Real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999. The difference between the 1.6 percent change and the 2.4 percent change was not statistically significant.

The full Census report data show breakdowns by race, sex, inequality, poverty and more.