Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No, our incomes don't just feel like they're stagnating

I thought more historical context might help make better voters out of us, so we'll soldier on in this same vein. The figure below shows the US median income over time according to the census bureau (I discussed this also here). The accompanying report can be found here. The gist? While income gains move temporarily up and down with recessions, it appears that median incomes are lower now than they were in 2000 (twelve years ago!). Couple this with the data on high-income earners I showed yesterday, and you find that the rich are doing very well, while the middle class have been treading water. And I think this is under-appreciated, but the median household income in this country is ~$50,000. Since many households rely on two incomes, I'm starting to picture an America where most people earn at or below $30k per year. Not quite what you'd expect from watching television or listening to politicians. Maybe we're not as rich as we thought we were.

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