Americans Are Getting Richer


After seven years of mostly stagnant or even declining earnings, Americans are seeing incomes rise. Incomes nationwide rose 5.2 percent in 2015, the first gain since 2007, the Census Bureau reported this week.

Read morePost-Recession: Where Incomes Are Up the Most

The median household income grew by $2,798 year-over-year to a median of $56,516, adjusted for inflation, the Census Bureau reports. That is the largest annual gain since the Census started tracking incomes in 1967.

That said, Americans haven’t fully caught up to pre-recession levels. Median household incomes are still 1.6 percent less than 2007, prior to the recession. Also, incomes are still 2.4 percent below the record high reached in 1999. However, if income growth keeps at its current pace, median household incomes could pass the 2007 level next year, according to forecasts by IHS Global, a research firm.

“It has been a long slog from the depths of the Great Recession, but things are finally starting to improve for many American households,” Chris Christopher Jr., an economist at IHS Global Insight, told The Wall Street Journal.

Employment growth has helped lift incomes. About 2.4 million people gained full-time work last year alone. Also, the report notes that longer hours, higher wages, and lower inflation has helped boost income levels.

Meanwhile, as incomes improve, the poverty rate is dropping. The poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5 percent, which is down from 14.8 percent in 2014, the Census Bureau reports. The poverty level is considered $24,258 for a family of four. More than 43.1 million Americans were living in poverty in 2015.

Source: “U.S. Household Incomes Surged 5.2% in 2015, First Gain Since 2007,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 13, 2016)