With wages finally up, Americans are earning more than ever

Michele Moreno
September 15, 2017

USA household incomes rose strongly for the second straight year in 2016, as the long-running economic recovery generated broad gains in prosperity.

Contrary to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 12, researchers at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the University of Notre Dame find that poverty has fallen sharply in the U.S.in recent decades.

The nation's official poverty rate in 2016 was 12.7 percent, with 40.6 million people in poverty, 2.5 million fewer than in 2015.

Michigan's poverty rate, despite its 0.8 percentage point decline to 15% in 2016, remains above the national rate of 14%, according to 2016 data.

"Women are more likely to be in the labour force now than they were in the past, so the last 10 years have just been a continuation of many of those trends". Black households saw a 5.7% increase, while Latinx household income grew by 4.3%.

- Almost 96 per cent of Canada's 8.2 million married or common-law couples saw both spouses report income in 2015, significantly more than about two-thirds of couples in the mid-1970s. The narrowing wage gender gap "is a welcome change except for the fact that it is due, in part, to men's earnings' stagnating for so long", she said. Finally, there was also data today on health insurance coverage.

The percentage of people without health insurance for 2016 was 8.8 percent, down from 9.1 percent in 2015. That rise in product quality from competing companies - not claimed policy improvements from federal agencies - has provided the vast majority of material gains for Americans amid flat incomes.

Another sign of economic growth is that poverty declined countywide from 10.3 percent in 2015 to 8.8 percent last year, which is lower than it was in the years leading up to the recession.

The bureau says the number of insured hit an all-time high in 2016, reaching 91.2 percent.

In hard-hit Windsor, Ont., the child poverty rate topped out at 24 per cent, the highest of any Canadian municipality, as a result of a deep and persistent decline in the manufacturing sector.

"There's a danger that this is as good as it gets", said Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insyghts.

Vance Ginn, also of the TPPF, said the Supplemental Poverty Measure, released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday, shows that Texas has the right approach over California. In 2016, New York's uninsured rate was 4.6 percentage points lower than in 2013. MA was the state with the lowest percentage of uninsured people, at 2.5 percent and the highest was in Texas, where 16.6 of the population was uninsured.

However, the official poverty measure is flawed, according to Bruce Meyer, the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and James Sullivan, the Rev. Thomas J. McDonagh, C.S.C.

"There's a large gap between the cost of housing in California and even what people who are working full-time are able to afford", Kimberlin said. This is the second consecutive annual increase in median household income.

Non-Hispanic, white households have a real median income of $65,041, while black households have a median of $39,490.

Other reports by Insurance News

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