The Income For Most Americans Has Been… Rising?

April 28, 2016

Watching people, such as presidential candidates, cite different studies and statistics to better serve their rhetoric can get a bit frustrating. As one candidate says one statistic, the other comes back with another statistic that is the complete opposite. As you sit there thinking they can’t both be true you finally begin to understand what Shakespeare meant when he wrote “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” As data and statistics are shaped, molded, fabricated, and, ultimately changed beyond recognition, it can become difficult to find the truth.

But, as Robert Shapiro writes in a Brookings.edu article, when it comes to what is actually going on with the incomes of Americans, forget the candidates and their political doubletalk and just focus on the numbers. What the numbers actually show, is that the average annual income grew among almost all ages and races/ethnicities in 2013 and 2014.

White Millennials saw wages grow 2.9 percent in 2013 and 2014 while black Millennials saw wages grow by 3 percent. Hispanics saw the largest wage increases among Millennials (and all other age cohorts for that matter) at 3.20 percent. For Gen Xers, whites saw wages increase 1.6 percent, blacks 2 percent, and Hispanics 5 percent. The only group that actually saw a decline in wages were white Baby Boomers at -0.10 percent. Meanwhile black Baby Boomers saw wages rise 2 percent and Hispanic Baby Boomers saw wages increase 2.8 percent.

The Census Bureau will release the 2015 income data in a few months.

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