Written by: Ed Welniak
For the second consecutive year, household income declined. Between 2010 and 2011, real (inflation adjusted) median household income fell by 1.5 percent, and the median has declined by a total of 8.1 percent since 2007. Income is 8.9 percent lower than its 1999 peak.
These results, however, were not uniform across all groups. Asian households and Hispanic-origin households showed no change in income between 2010 and 2011, as did nonfamily households, households in the Northeast, Midwest and South, and households outside principal cities and metro areas.
What may be holding household income down? One contributing factor may be the increase of typically lower-income households. For example, between 2011 and 2012, the number of elderly households grew by 1.1 million to 26.8 million households, a 4.3 percent increase. Since the median income of elderly households is much lower than the median of nonelderly households, the growing number of elderly households will tend to lower overall median household income over time.
Earnings were also down between 2010 and 2011, though the number of workers with earnings increased by nearly 1 million. Real earnings of year-round, full-time workers declined by 2.5 percent for both men and women between 2010 and 2011. This decline was coupled with an increase in the number of year-round, full-time workers of 1.7 million men and 0.5 million women.
To access the Census Bureau’s income statistics, visit <http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/index.html>.