Follow us:

Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

September 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM

For most Americans, no recovery in ’12

The Census Bureau reported today that median household income was essentially stagnant last year,  at $51,017. Adjusted for inflation, that leaves income 8.3 percent lower than where it stood in 2007 before the recession. The poverty rate was 15 percent, with 46.5 million of our fellow citizens living at or below the official poverty line. That’s 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007 and close to a post-War on Poverty record. Of this, 43 percent were in “deep poverty,” with half below the poverty line. In 2000, the rate of poverty was 11.3 percent. In the late 1950s, before LBJ’s War on Poverty began, the rate was above 22 percent.

The Gini ratio, which measures income inequality was basically unchanged at 0.477. Still, it is at a record high. In the late 1960s, it stood around 0.39. As was reported recently, the top 1 percent made up all their losses from the downturn and have accumulated a record share of national income.

Breaking down the numbers reveals a grim picture of not just stagnation, but in many cases a retrograde move. The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989.

For example, adjusted for inflation, men working full time made $49,398 in 2012 compared with $51,668 in 1973. From 2000 to 2012, the median white, non-Hispanic income fell 6.3 percent. Women have fared relatively better, $37,791 vs. $29,261. Still, over the past decade full-time women workers with a college degree have lost 0.8 percent in median earnings, while the same cohort of men have lost 5.2 percent. From 2000 to 2012, median non-elderly household income declined by 11.6 percent. During the same period, African-American households lost 14.8 percent and Hispanic households 11.8 percent.

The Census showed a slight improvement in those without health insurance, 43.7 million, down from 4.39 million. The wrinkle: The share of the population in employer-sponsored health plans fell by 10.8 percentage points from 2000 to 2012.

And Don’t Miss: It’s time to end the delusion that this White House has done even a fraction of what it should to help the economy | Heidi Moore

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The deadliest catch

Is doing nothing to stop

CO2 at sea

Comments | More in Income/living standards, Inequality, Poverty | Topics: Income, inequality, poverty

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►