Middle class income in the U.S. tops $59,000, a 3.2 percent jump - FOX10 News | WALA

Middle class income in the U.S. tops $59,000, a 3.2 percent jump

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(Meredith) (Meredith)

(CNN Money) -- Americans got another raise last year.

Median household income rose to just over $59,000 in 2016, up 3.2% from a year earlier, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday.

"This has been two consecutive years of very strong income growth," said Trudy Renwick, assistant division chief at Census.

Black families saw their median income climb 5.7% to $39,500, while Hispanic households had a 4.3% increase to $47,675. The median income of whites rose 2% to $65,000. Asians, who have the highest median income of $81,500, did not see a statistically significant change in income.

Also, the poverty rate ticked down to 12.7% in 2016 from 13.5% a year earlier. Some 40.6 million Americans were in poverty, 2.5 million fewer than a year earlier.

The poverty rate has returned to pre-recession levels. The 2016 figure is not statistically different than the 2007 rate, the bureau said.

The share of blacks in poverty fell to 22% in 2016, down from 24.1% a year earlier. Hispanics saw their poverty rate fall to 19.4%, down from 21.4%. The rate for whites was 8.8% and for Asians 10.1%, both statistically the same as the year before.

And, the share of those without health insurance dropped to 8.8%, down from 9.1% a year earlier. The share of uninsured Americans has dropped in all 50 states since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014.

There was a big difference in the uninsured rate among the 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and those that did not. Expansion states had an average uninsured rate of 6.5%, while the average rate in non-expansion states was 11.7%.

Some 28.1 million people lacked health insurance in 2016, down from 41.8 million in 2013.

Of those with coverage last year, just over two-thirds of Americans had private insurance, mostly from their employers. The rest had Medicare, Medicaid or military coverage.

The figures cap a long, slow road to improvement in middle-class fortunes under the Obama administration. Median income declined and the poverty rate rose during former President Obama's first term as the nation struggled to recover from the Great Recession before starting to improve in his second term.

Americans finally got a big raise in 2015, with the median income soaring 5.2%. Poverty plummeted to 13.5%, from 14.8% a year earlier. And the uninsured rate also dropped. It was the first time all three measures have improved in nearly two decades.

The progress continued last year as the U.S. economy added a total of 2 million jobs. The year ended with a 4.7% unemployment rate, down from 5% at the close of 2015.

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