Median Household Income Down 9% Since 1999

According to the US Census Bureau, household income across America has declined by 9% overall since the peak in 1999. The chart below includes a state-by-state breakdown showing how much median household income has declined (percentage basis) since each state’s peak year in income. You may be interested to see how your state fared, but overall median income is down 9% since the peak in 1999 when adjusted for inflation.


Some of these numbers are stunning! Notice that median incomes are down over 20% in the bottom five states – HI, MI, NV, OH and DE. Another 13 are down 15% to 19.9%, including New York at -15.3%. Another 12 states are down 10% to 14.8%, including Florida and New Jersey.

Perhaps just as stunning is the fact that only two states have not seen a decline in their median household income – Wyoming and the District of Columbia. Wyoming is enjoying a huge oil and gas boom which is growing month after month.

If we consider Wyoming to be a “one-off” event, that leaves only Washington, DC as the one other state where household income has not gone down. Go figure! In Washington, the politicians take care of themselves with the power to set their own compensation. The politicos have not suffered at all.

Note that this significant drop in household income across the country has occurred despite massive deficit spending by presidents Bush and Obama, despite Obama’s $820 billion “stimulus” program (which ultimately got a lot of liberal politicians re-elected) and despite the Fed manipulating interest rates to historic lows by printing $4 trillion in new money for QE.

You would think that these bad actors would figure out that not only is this NOT WORKING but also that it is actually hurting most Americans! I could go on and on, but I’m singing to the choir.

Here’s some more interesting information on median household income. The next chart from the Census Bureau shows a breakdown of household income by race.


For all races, the median household income was $50,054 and as noted above, that’s down 9% from the peak in 1999. [Note: Census Bureau data is infamously old when it comes out.]

Americans Living in Poverty Hits New Record

The Census Bureau estimates that there are almost 50 million Americans living in poverty today, which the government currently defines as an annual income of $23,850 for a family of four. The poverty rate, as a percentage of the population, has stood at 15% for the last three years – down from 17.3% in 1965, but up from 12.5% in 2007 before the Great Recession.


The chart above from CNN using Census Bureau data shows the official US poverty rate at 15% at the end of 2012. That’s up from 12.5% in 2007 and 11.3% in 2000.

Of the 50 million or so in poverty, 47 million receive food stamps, according government data. That’s 13 million more than when President Obama took office, thanks largely to the Great Recession and Obama’s anti-growth policies.

In most of the south from coast to coast, the poverty rate is still at or above 17% according to the Census Bureau, including Florida, Texas, California and states in between, as well as Oregon and Michigan.

For years, arguments have been raging among academics and even within the government regarding whether the official poverty rate is in fact wrong. Many believe it’s too low, while others argue it’s too high. That means the poverty count could be off by more than a full percentage point. And while that may sound like a small change, that means a poverty rate that misses millions of Americans. Either way, it’s too many people living in poverty in this country!

Let me wish all of you a Happy Memorial Day weekend as we honor our fallen patriots who paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedom. GOD BLESS THEM and their families!!

Posted 05-23-2014 12:43 PM by Gary D. Halbert
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