Income Up, Poverty Down, Inequality Steady

Despite the economic progress made as a whole, income distribution remains a problem

September 14, 2016

On Wednesday, the Census Bureau released its annual report on income and poverty. It indicated a 5.2 percent rise, to $56,516, of the income of the median household in 2015, and a decline of the poverty rate to 13.5 percent.

Eduardo Porter of the New York Times argues, though, that even despite the progress and the tight job market, distribution remains a problem. While the poor got richer, the rich got much richer. The bottom 20 percent of households increased their share of the nation’s income to 3.4 percent from 3.3 percent, but the richest five percent kept 21.8 percent, the same as in 2014.

Against the backdrop of the last few decades, the income gains revealed on Tuesday underscore how difficult the American economy has made it for average workers to get ahead. In nearly every successive economic cycle, progress came slower and harder than in the previous one.

The Wall Street Journal article charts income distribution and poverty rates by demographic since the 1970s.

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New York Times
Wall Street Journal


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