New Census Report on Income and Poverty in the United States

National Low Income Housing Coalition on Sept. 21.  It is an excellent summary of the current state of poverty and income across the US. 

The U.S. Census Bureau released data on September 16 that show no significant change in the official poverty rate or real median household income between 2013 and 2014. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 reports that 46.7 million people in the U.S. were living at or below the poverty level in 2014, reflecting a poverty rate of 14.8%, the same as in 2013. Real median household income was $53,657, as compared to $54,462 in 2013. This decline is not statistically significant.

The number of people in poverty has not significantly changed over the past four years, but is significantly higher than the year prior to the recent recession. In 2007, 37.3 million people (12.5% of the U.S. population) were living in poverty.

For most demographic groups, the poverty rate did not change between 2013 and 2014. However, poverty among female-headed families declined from 5.2 million to 4.8 million people, with their poverty rate declining from 32.2% to 30.6%. Poverty among married-couple families increased from 3.4 million to 3.7 million people, a poverty rate increase from 5.7% to 6.2%.

No age group or race saw a statistically significant change in poverty between 2013 and 2014. The poverty rate was 21.1% for children under the age of 18 (15.5 million people), 13.5% for people between the ages of 18 and 64 (26.5 million people), and 10.0% for people 65 years of age and older (4.6 million people). The poverty rate was 26.2% for blacks (10.8 million people), 23.6% for Hispanics (13.1 million people), 12.0% for Asians (2.1 million people), and 10.1% for non-Hispanic whites (19.7 million people).

The report also shows the decline in real median household income and increase in income inequality over the last fifteen years. Real median household income declined from its peak of $57,843 in 1999 to $53,657 in 2014. Real income declined by 7.2% for the median household, but declined by 16.5% for households in the bottom 10% of income. Income for the households in the top 10% increased by 2.8% during the same period. As a result, households in the top 10% now have incomes that are 12.8 times greater than households in the bottom 10%, as compared to 10.4 times greater in 1999.

The data used by the Census Bureau in this report are from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 is available at

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