Median American income rose to a new high in 2017, a the Census Bureau found Wednesday. Household income overall grew for the third straight year, reports USA Today, but the growth was at a slower pace than previous years.
In 2017, the median, inflation-adjusted household income rose 1.8 percent, to a record high of $61,372. In 2015, incomes rose 5.2 percent, while in 2016, they rose 3.2 percent. The gains are in part attributed to declining unemployment and the excess of job openings, which hit highs this summer. The poverty rate, 12.3 percent, is now at the lowest point in more than a decade, reports the Los Angeles Times, as workers recover from the recession that began 10 years ago.
Economic growth continues to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans, reports The New York Times, as incomes in affluent households increase sharply and lower-income households remain stagnant. While the Census Bureau said income inequality didn't rise significantly last year, the Economic Policy Institute points out that the lack of an increasing divergence doesn't signal more equality. In the 20th percentile of household incomes, there was 0.5 percent growth, while in the 95th percentile, there was 3.0 percent growth.
Additionally, the share of Americans without health insurance didn't budge, ending a three-year trend of increasing coverage rates, reports the Times. In states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the rate remained unchanged, with about 9.4 percent uninsured. In states that did not expand Medicaid, 16.7 percent didn't have health insurance, an increase from the year before. Summer Meza