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Sep 15

Income up, more health insurance coverage in the United States, census data shows

reportWASHINGTON, D.C.  — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income increased by 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015 while the official poverty rate decreased 1.2 percentage points. At the same time, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased.

Median household income in the United States in 2015 was $56,516, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median income of $53,718. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession.




The nation’s official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5 percent, with 43.1 million people in poverty, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014. The 1.2 percentage point decrease in the poverty rate from 2014 to 2015 represents the largest annual percentage point drop in poverty since 1999.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2015 calendar year was 9.1 percent, down from 10.4 percent in 2014. The number of people without health insurance declined to 29.0 million from 33.0 million over the period.

These findings are contained in two reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015. The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement was conducted nationwide and collected information about income and health insurance coverage during the 2015 calendar year. The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population; it is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the Annual Social and Economic Supplement questionnaire is designed to give annual, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates.

Another Census Bureau report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2015, was also released today. With support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it describes research showing a different way of measuring poverty in the United States and includes estimates for numerous demographic groups, including state-level estimates. The supplemental poverty measure serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being and provides a deeper understanding of economic conditions. The Census Bureau has published poverty estimates using this supplemental measure annually since 2011. Since September 2015, the supplemental poverty measure has been released the same day as the official poverty estimates.

The Current Population Survey-based income and poverty report includes comparisons with the previous year and to 2007 (before the last recession); historical tables in the report contain statistics back to 1959. The health insurance report is based on both the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey and includes comparisons with the previous year. State and local income and poverty estimates, as well as local health insurance coverage estimates, will be released Thursday, Sept. 15, from the American Community Survey.

Income

  • Real median incomes in 2015 for family households ($72,165) and nonfamily households ($33,805) increased 5.3 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, from their 2014 medians. This is the first annual increase in median household income for family households since 2007. The most recent increase for nonfamily households was in 2009. The increases of 5.3 percent and 5.4 percent for family and nonfamily households were not statistically different.
  • Real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak that occurred in 1999. The difference between the 1.6 percent change and the 2.4 percent change was not statistically significant.

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