US Median Household Income Sees First Rise in Almost A Decade

This article is included in these additional categories.

African-American | Asian-American | Boomers & Older | Hispanic | Household Income | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

censusbureau-median-household-income-trends-1975-2015-sept2016The real median household income in the US was $56,516 last year, a 5.2% year-over-year climb that represents the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, according to a new study [pdf] released by the US Census Bureau based on official national findings from the Current Population Survey. Real median household income (in 2015 dollars) has grown by about 14% over the past 30 years (from $49,631 in 1985), though it is yet to recover to its peak of $57,909 in 1999.

The largest share (16.7%) of US households continues to be in the $50-75k income range, though the percentage of households in this range has trended down over the past 50-odd years, from a high of 24.5% in 1969. In its place is a growing share of households in the $100k+ bracket, with more than one-quarter (26.4%) of households last year having income exceeding that threshold.

[SPONSORED Free White Paper: Who You Calling Affluent?]

The Census Bureau data provides some interesting breakouts based on race and ethnicity.

According to the Census Bureau’s breakdown:

  • Asian households (Asian alone) continued to have the highest median HHI, of $77,196, though the 3.8% increase was not considered statistically significant;
  • Non-Hispanic whites were next, at $62,950, a 4.4% increase followed by;
  • Hispanics (any race), at $45,148, a 6.1% climb; and
  • Non-Hispanic Black households, at $36,898, a 4.1% increase.

censusbureau-household-income-by-race-ethnicity-in-2015-sept2016

According to the Census Bureau’s age breakdown, real median household income (HHI) was:

  • Highest among 45-54-year-old householders ($73,857 last year, up by 4.2%); followed by
  • 35-44-year-old householders ($71,417, up by 7%);
  • 55-64-year-old householders ($62,802, up by 3.5%);
  • 25-34-year-old householders ($57,366, up by 5.6%);
  • Householders aged 65 and up ($38,515, up by 4.3%); and
  • 15-24-year-old householders ($36,108, up by 4.2%).

(Householders refers to those who maintain the household.)

While median household income grew by about 14% in the 30-year period between 1985 and 2015, the top percentiles have experienced far more rapid growth:

  • Real HHI for the households in the 95th percentile has increased by 42%, to $214,462 last year; and
  • HHI for households in the 90th percentile has grown by 35% to to $162,180 last year, but;
  • HHI for households in the 10th percentile has increased by 7% over that time span, to $13,259.

What that effectively means is that while those in the 95th percentile enjoyed a HHI 12.2 times greater than those in the 10th percentile back in 1985, that gap has now reached a multiple of about 16.

Other Findings:

  • Between 1999 (when household income peaked) and 2015, incomes at the 50th and 10th percentiles of household income decreased by 2.4% and 7.9%, respectively, while incomes at the 90th percentile grew by 5.7%.
  • The top 5% of households took home 22.1% of aggregate income last year;
  • Among full-time year-round workers, women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio stood at 80% last year ($40,742 compared to $51,212). Though it’s still far from parity, the ratio has steadily grown from 61% in 1960, and is up from 77% in 2012.
  • 43. million Americans lived in poverty last year, or 13.5% of the population, down from 14.8% in 2014. That rate is also down from 22.4% in 1959, but up from 11.3% in 2000.
  • The poverty rate was highest among Black Americans (24.1%) and Hispanics (21.4%), and was considerably lower among Asians (11.4%) and non-Hispanic whites (9.1%).
Explore More Charts.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribers receive our newsletter three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The newsletter contains our latest charts and articles, along with short analyses and highlights. Subscribers also receive a promotional email featuring a sponsored download each Tuesday.

As a subscriber, each email you receive will contain options to manage your preferences and/or unsubscribe. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details. 

We look forward to keeping you up to date with the latest trends!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This