New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau report a steady decline in median household income for Americans, a yawning inequality gap and more than one in five children under age 18 living in poverty.
Real median household income dropped 1.5 percent in 2011 to $50,054 from 2010 levels. It is the second consecutive year in which median income has dropped for Americans.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The figures released by the census also show that little dent has been made on America’s high levels of poverty, with some 15% of the nation – representing around 46.2 million people – living in poverty in 2011. The figures are worse for the very young, where the poverty rate for those under the age of 18 is 21.9% – or some 16.1 million children. These latter figures are roughly unchanged in 2011 from 2010.
However, income inequality in the US has grown. The Gini Index, which measures income inequality, increased by 1.6% to a score of 0.477 in 2011. Though few other countries have yet produced figures for 2011, that number for the US shows a more unequal economy for America than the 2010 figures for countries like Uruguay, Argentina and Bangladesh. Within the figures there was also an increase in the share of aggregate income for the top 20% of Americans of 1.6% and – within that group – the top 5% saw a jump of 4.9%.
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