American household incomes reach a high point — here’s what it means

According to an important indicator of U.S. household incomes, Americans are now earning more than they did 17 years ago, the last time incomes reached a high.

What does that mean?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the U.S. increased to $59,039, a level that finally surpassed the last high point in 1999 (when adjusted for inflation).

That means that Americans are earning more on average than they have since the turn of the millennium.

Who benefits the most?

The economic growth was seen mostly in cities and urban regions of the country. Unfortunately, those who live in rural regions of the country saw little or no growth, on average, in their incomes.

Those in urban centers saw their incomes climb to $61,521 on average last year, while those in rural areas saw no change and held at about $46,000.

Does that mean fewer Americans are poor?

Yes. About 6 million people were lifted out of poverty in 2015 and 2016.

Overall, the poverty rate fell from 14.8 percent in 2014 to 12.7 percent in 2016, a drastic decrease.

What about “income inequality”?

Income inequality, or the measure by which those are the top of the wealth scale are wealthier than those at the bottom, is still large in the United States. That’s because the wealthiest Americans also saw an increase in their income.


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