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American Household Income at All-Time High

October 15, 2018

|Daniel A. White

Today I want to talk about some genuinely good news that everyone can get behind – the U.S. median household income reached an all-time high in 2017 at $61,372.

It marks the fifth consecutive annual income increase, which is fantastic because it was preceded by five consecutive declines from 2008-12.

Another impressive finding is the typical American family today makes nearly $13,000 more in inflation-adjusted dollars than the typical American family in 1975. That’s real money right there. I don’t know too many people who would be upset with an extra $13,000 in their pockets.

Sometimes when income data is released, people bring up income inequality. That is not a small issue, to be sure. And there is progress on that front too.

The share of total income going to households in the top-5 and top-20 percent of earners has stayed flat since 1993. That means income inequality is stable and not getting worse.

The census also revealed that the middle class – defined as households making from $35,000 to $100,000 in 2017 – is shrinking. But it’s actually a good thing because many in the middle class have moved up and out of the middle class.

Additionally, the share of low-income households making less than $35,000 in 2017 was at a near-record low of 29.5 percent last year.

Yes, the U.S. economy has its issues, but overall the trend is positive. People are making more money and achieving a better standard of living. That’s a good thing in my book.

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