by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Typical family incomes rose to new record highs in 2017, and poverty subsided to pre-recession lows, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday.
Median household income rose to $61,400, according to the bureau’s Current Population Survey, improving 1.8 percent on the previous year’s mark of $60,300. Over the past two years, median incomes appear to have eclipsed, finally, the all-time high set in the dotcom bubble year of 1999, adjusting for inflation.
The comparison, though, complicated by changes the Census Bureau made to survey questions in 2014. Adjusting for those changes suggests that typical incomes were roughly the same in 2017 as they were in 2007 and 1999, a Census official said.
Meanwhile, the share of people below the poverty level fell 0.4 percentage points to 12.3 percent. That rate, representing 39.7 million people, is the lowest poverty rate since 2006, before the recession hit and led to an increase in poverty.
The latest figures show that, after years of damaging fallout from the financial crisis, middle-class incomes began recovering during the end of the Obama years and approaching the heights seen in the dotcom bubble years. As the economy recovery extended into President Trump’s first year in office, incomes appeared to reach new all-time highs.