US incomes rise as poverty rate declines in 2017

Monica Almeida  New York Times

Monica Almeida New York Times

The nation's economic expansion is now in its 10th year, and Wednesday's figures signal that several years of steady income growth are helping put many Americans on stronger financial footing.

The stunning report says the median USA household income reached $61,372 past year, meaning half of Americans are earning more than they did during the previous high reached in 1999.

Middle-class household income has been rising steadily in recent years as the economy has rebounded from the deep recession and millions of Americans have found jobs again. The extra pay from having another person in the home working is the largest factor contributing to the increase in income. Households can vary in size from a single person to multiple adults and children residing under the same roof, but the average US household has 2.6 people.

The report also showed the poverty rate - the percentage of people living in poverty - fell to 12.3 percent a year ago from 12.7 percent in 2016.

The number of Americans in poverty also did not change dramatically from the previous year, with the official poverty rate falling slightly from 12.7 percent in 2016 to 12.3 percent in 2017, according to the Census.

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