Census: Nelson's household income below national average

Census Bureau

"Detroit's income growth was the first significant increase since the recession, but it was not shared by all households", said Kurt Metzger, demographer and mayor of Pleasant Ridge. New Hampshire comes out looking pretty good in both, for instance.

"The nation's still sky-high poverty is a human-made disaster of epic proportions", said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America.

A person earning the median income in 2015, for example, took home $4,200 less, accounting for inflation, than they did 10 years earlier.

In addition, the nation's official poverty rate declined to 12.7 percent in 2016, a 0.8 percentage-point drop from the year before.

All of those guesses are wrong, according to the latest 2016 income data released by the U.S. Census.

An estimated 15,979 county residents - just over 14 percent of the total population - were living in poverty, down from an estimated 15.2 percent the year before.

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Polun said these numbers look great but "we are extremely concerned, for a number of reasons".

The poverty rate among foreign-born persons declined more than it did for native-born persons. For instance, a person earning $41,754 in MS falls squarely in the middle class in that state, while someone earning that same amount in NY just misses the middle income threshold.

In comparison, 32.1 per cent of people living alone were below the low-income cutoff.

The United Way offers a third measure in its ALICE Project. Black households saw their incomes rise by 5.7 percent in 2016, to $39,490, compared to 2 percent for white households, which now earn $65,041. When the new open enrollment period starts November 1, "we're going to have to spend a lot of time clarifying things and educating people".

Canada's most populous province watched its median income barely move over the last decade, its 3.8 per cent rise ranking a dismal last.

In 2017, the number and percentage of shared households remained higher than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession.

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"The challenge for policymakers now is to build on the last few years' progress and not worsen poverty and inequality", said Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research organization. While poverty has fallen significantly during this expansion, it's still 1.6 percent higher than it was in 2000.

And, of course, the multiple efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on the national stage have also created some uncertainity around health care, said Polun and other experts.

The gaps between the poorest and the wealthiest households are growing. The South and the Western regions of the USA saw the biggest income increases, while the Northeast and Midwest saw no statistically significant change at all.

When you try to adjust for the question changes, what you actually find is that the median household income remains slightly lower than it was before the recession in 2007, and well below the high from 1999. For one, that middle income zenith doesn't account for rising income inequality. "Raising the minimum wage would be the most obvious one". "We are already at a 16-year low in unemployment".

Multiyear estimates for smaller geographies will be released in December.

The data showed that the ranks of those with health insurance coverage continued to grow previous year.

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